The human knee is a complex junction of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that work together to enable multi-directional mobility and provide stability. It is the most used and stressed joint, which is used even when we are seated or sleeping to move around.
A well-functioning knee enables our mobility and ability to participate in various activities. However, according to our knee specialist in Mumbai, knee joint disorders are the most prevalent joint problems today. Understanding the knee’s anatomy 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.
The femur sits on top of the tibia, hinged by a complex band of two major muscles, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings. They are primarily responsible for holding the two bones together.
The fibula is another bone of the lower leg connected parallel to the tibia. This joint has very little movement and is not considered a part of the main joint, as suggested by our knee replacement surgeon In Mumbai.
To further reduce friction between the articulating surfaces of the bones, the knee joint is lined by a synovial membrane which produces a thick clear fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and bones inside the joint capsule.
What makes the knee joints unique are the menisci cartilage bands. Menisci are C-shaped structures that are strategically positioned between the femur and tibia surfaces such that the weight of the upper body is distributed across the tibial plateaus and also absorbs shock produced during walking, running, and jumping.
Finally, the joint is held together by a network of ligaments and tendons present around and in-between the bones. The primary ligament bands are the collateral ligaments and the cruciate ligaments that stabilize the joint’s movements, while the quadriceps tendons, patella tendons, and hamstring tendons adhere the muscles to the bones.
Collateral ligaments: these bands extend along the sides of the knee with the medial collateral ligament (MCL) on the inner side and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) on the outside. They prevent the knee’s side-to-side motion.
Cruciate ligaments: these bands pass through the knee joint and control the back-and-forth motion of the knee. The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL holds the tibia in place, and the posterior cruciate ligament or PCL prevents it from moving backward.
Tendons are essentially bonding soft tissues that adhere to the muscles and bones to offer sturdiness to the joint.
In case of ligament and tendon injuries, you will have to see a specialist knee surgeon in Mumbai to manually repair the broken soft tissue bands.
There are two major muscles over the knee joint bones that also hold the joint together. The quadricep muscle bands forming the frontal thighs contract to allow extension of the leg at the knee joint, while the hamstrings muscle bands at the back of the thigh enable bending of the leg.
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