Medical Definition of Meniscus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Meniscus: The word "meniscus" comes from the Greek and refers to a crescent-shaped structure. Today a meniscus is something that is shaped like a crescent moon or a croissant pastry.

A meniscus can be an anatomic feature. For example, the medial meniscus of the knee is a crescent-shaped cartilage pad between the two joints formed by the femur (the thigh bone) and the tibia (the shin bone). The meniscus acts as a smooth surface for the joint to move on. The medial meniscus is toward the inner (medial) side of the knee joint, as indicated here:

Knee Joint Illustration - Meniscus

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018