The menisci: what they are and what they are for

The menisci play a fundamental role in the activity of the knees, therefore, it is important to keep the joints in good condition to avoid cartilage injuries, which could be disabling for the patient.

¿Qué son los meniscos_

What are menisci?

The Menisci are fibrocartilage, located in the knee joint, between the femur and tibia, which fill the spaces between the joints.. They are composed of water, collagen and elastin, and their texture is flexible and gelatinous.

They act as pads and have a cushioning function. In addition, they absorb the impacts that occur between the articular surfaces, providing stability to the joint.

Types of meniscus

exist two types of meniscus. On the one hand, there is the internal or medial meniscus, which is located in the central part of the knee. It is divided into two horns: the anterior one, which joins the tibia in front of the anterior cruciate ligament, and the posterior horn, which joins in front of the posterior cruciate ligament.

On the other hand, it differentiates external or lateral meniscus which is smaller and more mobile. It is also divided into two horns. However, in this case it is not attached to the knee ligament, which gives it greater mobility.

Function of the menisci

The menisci play an important role in the movement and mobility of the knee joint, improving joint function, that is, allowing the knee to perform basic movements, such as flexion or extension, and more complex movements. In addition, it distributes the loads, preventing overloading of the joint.

Its main function is joint congruence, that is, it provides the appropriate shape for the tibia and femur to fit together and, in this way, allows sliding between the two bones, avoiding friction, which can cause pain. For this reason, in case of injuries, complete removal is avoided, since rubbing of the bones usually leads to degenerative osteoarthritis.

Main movements of the menisci

The menisci participate in practically all movements of the knee. In flexion and extension movements, they follow the movement of the tibia. In extension movements they move forward, and in flexion movements, backwards.

Rotura de menisco

In rotational movements, the menisci follow the movement of the part of the femur with which they are in contact, known as the femoral condyles. In this way, in internal rotation movements, the external meniscus moves backwards, and the internal meniscus moves forwards. However, in external rotation movements, the opposite is true.

Most common injuries to the menisci

Meniscus injuries are known as meniscopathies, and, depending on the cause, three types of injuries can be differentiated: firstly, degenerative lesions, which are due to the wear and dehydration of the menisci over time. They are common in elderly people and it is normal for the meniscus to end up tearing, without the need to make sudden movements.

On the other hand, there are the traumatic injuriesIn this case, the cause of the injury is sudden movements or trauma. And finally, mechanical injuries, which are related to small deformities or abnormalities in the knee, for example, excessive rotation or hyperextension.

The meniscus injuries, usually cause pain that, at first, appears after exercising. In addition, it is usually accompanied by stiffness in the knee or immobility of the joint.

meniscus tear

The most common injury to the meniscus is what is known as meniscus tear. It is a common pathology in athletes and elderly people. In the case of young people, the injury is usually caused by trauma that causes the cartilage to tear, causing it to break.

However, in elderly people, this injury is closely related to arthritis, which causes wear and tear of the cartilage and its subsequent breakage, without having to make a sudden movement.

Normally, after tearing the meniscus, it is usually necessary for the patient to keep the joint at rest to reduce inflammation. If the pain persists and affects the mobility of the knee, it is common to perform surgery or resort to new knee replacement treatments. stem cells to avoid surgery, this method is carried out through the regeneration of joint cells.

The meniscus operation It is usually performed through arthroscopy, that is, through very small incisions, this is a minimally invasive surgery on the meniscus, an area belonging to the knee. Surgery can be performed in two ways: a partial meniscusopathy, in which part of the meniscus is removed or, in some cases, it is removed entirely. In other cases, it is preferred to perform a meniscal suture, in which the tear is sutured. This offers, in the long term, better results, since it reduces the chances of the patient developing osteoarthritis. After undergoing this knee operation, it will be necessary to go to a physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation center for the correct treatment of the affected area and shorten the injury recovery time.

Función de los meniscos

Tips to avoid injuries to the meniscus

In many cases, meniscus injuries are inevitable, however, it is important to take into account certain guidelines that help prevent their appearance. In this way, first of all, it is important to strengthen the leg muscles, to avoid excessive pressure on the cartilage. However, it is advisable to avoid impact sports or sports practices that involve forced positions for the knee.

On the other hand, it is recommended to maintain control over body weight, since the greater the weight, the knee will have to withstand more pressure.

As has been seen, it is important to keep the knee joint in good condition to avoid the appearance of injuries that could keep the patient from practicing their daily activities.

2 thoughts on “Los meniscos: qué son y para qué sirven”

  1. I have serious problems in my meniscus due to wear and tear, I am a 66-year-old person and I have practiced sports such as swimming and Karate, maintaining rigorous training to obtain high-performance sports results in international competitions; This has caused serious wear and tear on my meniscus with the pain inherent to that problem and loss of flexibility. I am trying to solve this problem by strengthening my leg muscles and losing weight, also stopping eating red meat, reducing sugar consumption and resting. What should I do as meniscus recovery exercises.
    The information that you provide me has been very valuable, since I have managed to know what is really happening to me and how to deal with it.


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