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Knee Anatomy

The knee is a complex joint made up of different structures - bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. They all work together to maintain the knee’s 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.

Bones of the Knee

The knee is a hinge joint made up of two bones, the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). There are two round knobs at the end of the femur called femoral condyles that articulate with the flat surface of the tibia called the tibial plateau. The tibial plateau on the inside of the leg is called the medial tibial plateau and on the outside of the leg, the lateral tibial plateau.

The two femoral condyles form a groove on the front (anterior) side of the knee called the patellofemoral groove. A small bone called the patella sits in this groove and forms the kneecap. It acts as a shield and protects the knee joint from direct trauma.

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.

Articular Cartilage and Menisci of the Knee

Movement of the bones causes friction between the articulating surfaces. To reduce this friction, all articulating surfaces involved in the movement are covered with a white, shiny, slippery layer called articular cartilage. The articulating surface of the femoral condyles, tibial plateaus and the back of the patella are covered with this cartilage. The cartilage provides a smooth surface that facilitates easy movement.

To further reduce friction between the articulating surfaces of the bones, the knee joint is lined by a synovial membrane that produces a thick clear fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and bones inside the joint capsule.

Within the knee joint, between the femur and tibia, 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 i.e. it prevents the weight from concentrating onto a small area, which could damage the articular cartilage. The menisci also act as a cushion between the femur and tibia by absorbing the shock produced by activities such as walking, running and jumping.

Ligaments of the Knee

Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect one bone to another bone. The ligaments of the knee stabilize the knee joint. There are two important groups of ligaments that hold the bones of the knee joint together, collateral and cruciate ligaments.

Collateral ligaments are present on either side of the knee. They prevent the knee from moving too far during side to side motion. The collateral ligament on the inside is called the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the collateral ligament on the outside is called the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

Cruciate ligaments, present inside the knee joint, 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).

Muscles of the Knee

There are two major muscles in the knee - the quadriceps and the hamstrings, which enable movement of the knee joint. The quadriceps muscles are located in front of the thigh. When the quadriceps muscles contract, the knee straightens. The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh. When the hamstring muscles contract, the knee bends.

Tendons of the Knee

A tendon is a tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. The quadriceps muscles of the knee meet just above the patella and attach to it through a tendon called the quadriceps tendon. The patella further attaches to the tibia through a tendon called the patella tendon. The quadriceps muscle, quadriceps tendon, and patellar tendon all work together to straighten the knee. Similarly, the hamstring muscles at the back of the leg are attached to the knee joint with the hamstring tendon.

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common condition affecting individuals of different age groups. It not only affects movement but also impacts your quality of life. An injury or disease of the knee joint or any structure surrounding the knee can result in knee pain.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome also called runner’s knee refers to pain under and around your kneecap. Patellofemoral pain is associated with a number of medical conditions such as anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, and chondromalacia patella.

Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia patella is a common condition characterized by softening, weakening and damage of the cartilage. The condition is most often seen in young athletes and older adults who have arthritis of the knee. It especially occurs in women.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome is an overuse injury resulting from the inflammation of the iliotibial band. It occurs when the iliotibial band and the lower outside portion of the thighbone at the knee joint rub against each other.

Lateral Patellar Compression Syndrome

Lateral Patellar Compression Syndrome

Lateral patellar compression syndrome refers to pain under and around your kneecap. It is a common complaint among runners, jumpers and other athletes such as skiers, cyclists, and soccer players.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans is a joint condition in which a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of the bone separates from the end of the bone because of inadequate blood supply.

Shin Splints

Shin Splints

Shin splints are pain and inflammation of the tendons, muscles and bone tissue along the tibia or shinbone (lower leg). It occurs because of vigorous physical activities such as exercise or sports.

Knee Injury

Knee Injury

An injury to either or both knees causing pain and/or disability. Description. The legs, especially the knees, are the most injury-prone parts of the body.

Unstable Knee

Unstable Knee

The knee joint is one of the largest joints in the body. This highly complex joint has several tissues supporting and stabilizing its movement.

Knee Sprain

Knee Sprain

Knee sprain is a common injury that occurs from overstretching of the ligaments that support the knee joint. A knee sprain occurs when the knee ligaments are twisted or turned beyond its normal range, causing the ligaments to tear.

ACL Tears

ACL Tears

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments of the knee. It is located in the middle of the knee and runs from the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone).

MCL Tears

MCL Tears

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the ligament located on the inner part of the knee joint. It runs from the femur (thighbone) to the top of the tibia (shinbone) and helps in stabilizing the knee.

MCL Sprain

MCL Sprain

Your MCL may get sprained or injured while twisting, bending or quickly changing direction.

Meniscal Injuries

Meniscal Injuries

Meniscal tears are among the commonest injuries to the knee joint. It can occur at any age but are more common in athletes involved in contact sports. The meniscus has no direct blood supply and for that reason, when there is an injury to the meniscus, healing is difficult.

Meniscal Tears

Meniscal Tears

A meniscal tear is a common knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. A sudden bend or twist in your knee causes the meniscus to tear. Elderly people are more prone to degenerative meniscal tears as the cartilage wears out and weakens with age.

Ligament Injuries

Ligament Injuries

Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect one bone to another bone. The ligaments of the knee stabilize the knee joint.

Multiligament Instability

Multiligament Instability

The knee is a complex joint of the body that is vital for movement. The four major ligaments of the knee are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint. Arthritis is a general term covering numerous conditions where the joint surface or cartilage wears out.

Patellar Dislocation/Patellofemoral Dislocation

Patellar Dislocation/Patellofemoral Dislocation

The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint. Arthritis is a general term covering numerous conditions where the joint surface or cartilage wears out.

Patellar Instability

Patellar Instability

Any damage to the supporting ligaments may cause the patella to slip out of the groove either partially (subluxation) or completely (dislocation). This misalignment can damage the underlying soft structures such as muscles and ligaments that hold the kneecap in place.

Patella Tendon Rupture

Patella Tendon Rupture

The patellar tendon works together with the quadriceps muscle and the quadriceps tendon to allow your knee to straighten out. Patella tendon rupture is the rupture of the tendon that connects the patella (kneecap) to the top portion of the tibia (shinbone)

Lateral Meniscus Syndrome

Lateral Meniscus Syndrome

Lateral meniscus syndrome is characterized by an injury caused by the tearing of the cartilage tissue or a rare case of a congenital abnormality called a discoid meniscus, which results in knee pain.

Medial Meniscus Syndrome

Medial Meniscus Syndrome

Of the menisci within the knee, it is the medial that is more easily injured. Differences in the anatomical attachments of the medial meniscus compared to the lateral, mean that the medial meniscus becomes distorted during combined flexion and rotation movements in a manner not experienced on the lateral side.

Knee Angular Deformities

Knee Angular Deformities

Angular deformities of the knee are variations in the normal growth pattern during early childhood and are common during childhood.

Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure performed using an arthroscope, a viewing instrument, to diagnose or treat a knee problem. It is a relatively safe procedure and you will usually be discharged from the hospital on the same day of surgery.

Meniscus Repairs

Meniscus Repairs

The meniscus is a C-shaped cartilage that functions as a cushion between the long bones of the shin and thigh. Forceful twisting of the knee while bearing weight on it can result in a torn meniscus.

Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

The medial patellofemoral ligament is a band of tissue that extends from the femoral medial epicondyle to the superior aspect of the patella. It is a major ligament that stabilizes the patella and helps in preventing patellar subluxation (partial dislocation) or dislocation.

Arthroscopic Reconstruction of the Knee for Ligament Injuries

Arthroscopic Reconstruction of the Knee for Ligament Injuries

The surgical repair of the completely torn ligament involves reconstruction of the torn ligament using a tissue graft taken from another part of the body or from a donor.

LCL Reconstruction

LCL Reconstruction

The knee is the largest joint of the body and is stabilized by a set of ligaments. In the knee, there are four primary ligaments viz. anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament.

ACL Reconstruction

ACL Reconstruction

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope-like structure located in the center of the knee, running from the femur to the tibia.

ACL Reconstruction Procedure – Hamstring Tendon

ACL Reconstruction Procedure – Hamstring Tendon

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope-like structure located in the center of the knee, running from the femur to the tibia.

MCL Reconstruction

MCL Reconstruction

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of four major ligaments of the knee that connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). It is present on the inside of the knee joint and helps stabilize the knee.

Knee Ligament Reconstruction

Knee Ligament Reconstruction

The surgical repair of the completely torn ligament involves reconstruction of the torn ligament using a tissue graft taken from another part of the body or from a donor

Cartilage Restoration

Cartilage Restoration

Articular cartilage is the smooth, shiny, white tissue covering the ends of bones those form a joint. Articular cartilage reduces friction when bones glide over each other, making the movements smooth and painless.

Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage Replacement

It is usually performed to treat small areas of cartilage damage usually caused by sports or traumatic injuries. It is not indicated if you have advanced arthritis of the knee.

Cartilage Repair and Transplantation

Cartilage Repair and Transplantation

Cartilage cell transplantation is a technique of transplanting healthy cartilage cells to replace damaged cartilage cells

OATS

OATS

OATS is “osteochondral autograft transfer system”. It is one of the two types of cartilage transfer procedures and the other procedure is “Mosaicplasty

Patellar Tendon Repair

Patellar Tendon Repair

Patella tendon rupture is the rupture of the tendon that connects the patella (kneecap) to the top portion of the tibia (shinbone). The patellar tendon works together with the quadriceps muscle and the quadriceps tendon to allow your knee to straighten out.