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Meniscal Tears Normal Menisci of the knee Meniscal Tears The meniscus is a C-shaped fibrous cartilage that is found in certain joints forming a buffer between the bones. The meniscus also serves as a shock-absorption system, assists in lubricating the joint, and limits the joint flexion and extension.
The menisci can be easily injured by the force of rotating the knee while bearing weight. A partial or total tear may occur when a person quickly twists or rotates the upper leg while the foot stays still. If the tear is tiny, the meniscus stays connected to the front and back of the knee; if the tear is large, the meniscus may be left hanging by a thread of cartilage. The seriousness of a tear depends on its location and extent. Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.niams.nih.gov LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD