The knee is a hinge joint that sits between the thigh and the shin. It functions the same as a hinge on a door would and sometimes gets a creaky as a hinge can. This joint allows the legs to bend and straighten which are necessary for walking, going up and down stairs, going from sitting to standing, running, and jumping. The anatomy of the knee consists of many structures from the bones, tendons and ligaments to the cartilage and muscles to help the knee function.
If you want to learn more about the knee anatomy, please watch this knee anatomy video.
The knee consists of 3 main bones:
The femur and the tibia are the main movers of the joint to allow for the hinge motion. This connection of the femur and tibia is a joint called the tibiofemoral joint. The patella sits on top of the tibiofemoral joint in a groove in the front of the femur.The patella is a floating bone that works as a fulcrum for the quadriceps muscle (you will read about this later) to function properly. This joint is called the patellofemoral joint and allows for the patella to move up and down and the knee bends and straightens.
The knee has 4 main ligaments:
The MCL and the LCL sit on the sides of the knee and they help give stability to the knee if your knee gets hit from the sides. The ACL and PCL are inside of the knee and cross each other as they run front to back and vise versa. These 2 ligaments are responsible for giving the knee stability from front to back. An ACL injury is probably one of the most recognized injuries in sports and most of the time requires surgical repair that has a lengthy recover time.
There are two main types of cartilage in knee anatomy: articular cartilage and the meniscus.
There are many muscles that have an effect on the knee, but the main muscles that allow for the knee to perform its main functions are:
All of these muscles also have functions at different joints such as the hip and the ankle. Injuries to these structures, such as a pull or strain, will cause pain when activating the muscle and if severe enough will cause significant weakness.
There are many types of knee injuries that can occur. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage can be strained and sprained. It is really important to have your knee pain properly diagnosed by an orthopedic physician. JOI Rehab also has 12 Physical Therapy locations which can certainly help you on the road to recovery. With over 70 Rehab Clinicians trained in providing you with the highest quality if orthopedic care.
Even though this joint may seem like a simple joint, it can cause a lot of pain in many people. Many injuries can occur from fractures to ligament/muscle/meniscal tears, and arthritis that can stop you in your tracks. Make sure you keep your knees mobile, keep stretching, and keep your legs strong to keep you moving!
If you want to learn more about a torn ACL, go to: Torn ACL