The lateral meniscus is attached to the shin, and is located on the outer side of the knee. The C-shaped rubbery cartilage keeps the knee stable. The lateral meniscus absorbs shocks, protecting the joint. It also keeps the joint lubricated and regulates the joint's movement to prevent over extension. The rubbery nature of the meniscus makes it prone to tearing when it is twisted during an irregular movement. Tennis players and weight lifters are prone to tear the lateral meniscus. However, some people experience tears as they age. The lateral meniscus can be torn in half or ripped so severely that it hangs by one thin fiber. People who experience a lateral tear may have limited movement in the leg and are unable to stretch it out. Pain, tightness, and swelling in the knee are also symptoms of the tears. Damage to the lateral meniscus can be repaired through meniscus transplant surgery. Tears can also be treated by allowing it to heal naturally, immobilizing the knee to prevent further damage.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Lateral meniscus