The lateral meniscus is the cushion pad on the outside of the knee between the femur and tibia. The two main functions of the menisci are to absorb impact, and improve knee joint stability. There are two menisci: the medial and lateral meniscus. The medial meniscus is on the inside of the knee, and the lateral meniscus rests on the outside of the knee. The lateral meniscus is more rounded, and not fully attached to the joint capsule wall. An ACL injury can increase the chances for a lateral meniscus tear.
The center of the meniscus has poor blood supply, which makes it less amenable to healing. Depending on the severity of the meniscal tear, patients may be recommended to have surgical reconstruction. Research has shown that meniscal repairs, in the setting of ACL reconstruction, are more likely to heal.
Your physician will decide if surgical repair is needed, based upon tear size, location, blood supply, and patient age. If a repair is performed, rehabilitation is limited for the first 6 weeks. Following a thorough rehabilitation program, patients are able to resume full activities 3 months after surgery.