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Mark A. Wolgin, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Specialist (Fellowship Trained) in Spinal and Foot/Ankle Surgery, Albany, GA, Office Phone 229-883-4707

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Knee Illustrations
The meniscus cartilages, which are like shock absorbers between the round end of the femur (thigh bone) and the relatively flat top of the tibia (shin bone), can have tears of various shapes.
Meniscus Tears 
The tear can be shaped like a parrot beak, and you can imagine how this torn central portion can potentially get caught between the femur and tibia, causing a catching feeling, also sometimes with a clicking or popping sensation.
This tear is called a radial tear, as it radiates out from a central point, like spokes from a wheel.
This tear is a vertical tear, through the substance of the meniscus.  When these types of tears are big, they can displace into the joint and are called bucket handle tears.  When these tears occur near the outer edge or periphery, they can often be repaired instead of taking out the torn part.
A variety of types of tears are shown here.
Examples of meniscus tears are shown in these MRI's of knee, side view, with torn meniscus in back of knee.  White fluid collection in front is called an effusion.
Knee ligaments (also called collateral ligaments) on the inner and outer side of the knee are shown here.