The meniscus is C-shaped structure that sits between the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone). It functions as a shock-absorber to protect the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is the smooth surface at the ends of the femur and tibia inside the joint.
The meniscus can be damaged and torn in acute trauma, or it can gradually wear out naturally due to wear and tear. In some cases, meniscus tears can be repaired with sutures (stitches) in order to preserve the structure’s function. Some meniscus tears can’t be repaired and have to be “cleaned up” by surgically removing the torn pieces. If patients have torn pieces removed and continue to have pain, meniscus transplant surgery can be considered.
Following meniscus repair or transplantation surgery, you will need to use crutches for three to six weeks and a brace for six weeks. You can most likely return to full athletic activity after four to six months.