Knee Anatomy: Knee is a complex joint made up of different structures including bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. They all work together to maintain normal function and provide stability to the knee during movement.
Having a well-functioning healthy knee is essential for our mobility and ability to participate in various activities. Understanding the anatomy of the knee enhances your ability to discuss and choose the right treatment procedure for knee problems with your doctor.
The knee is a hinge joint made up of two bones, the thighbone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia). There are two round knobs at the end of the femur called femoral condyles, which articulate with the flat surface of the tibia called the tibial plateau. The tibia plateau on the inside of the leg is called the medial tibial plateau, and on the outside of the leg it is called the lateral tibial plateau.
A fourth bone called the fibula is the other bone of the lower leg. This forms a small joint with the tibia. This joint has very little movement and is not considered a part of the main joint of the knee.
Movement of the bones causes friction between the articulating surfaces. To reduce this friction, all articulating surfaces involved in movement are covered by a white, shiny, slippery layer called the articular cartilage
Within the knee joint, between the femur and tibia, there are two C-shaped cartilaginous structures called menisci. Menisci function to provide stability to the knee by spreading the weight of the upper body across the whole surface of the tibial plateau. The menisci help in load bearing by preventing the weight from concentrating onto a small area, which could damage the articular cartilage.
Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect one bone to another bone. The ligaments of the knee function to stabilise the knee joint. There are two important groups of ligaments that hold the bones of the knee joint together: collateral ligaments and the cruciate ligaments.
Cruciate ligaments are a group of ligaments present inside the knee joint. They control the back and forth motion of the knee. The cruciate ligament in the front of the knee is called anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the cruciate ligament in the back of the knee is called posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
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