Anatomy of the Knee

The knee is one of the most complicated joints in our body. It bears the most weight and is the most heavily used and abused. A brief anatomy lesson might be helpful in order to better understand some of the common knee ailments that people face.

The knee is comprised of four bones:
– Kneecap (patella)
– Thigh bone (femur)
– Shin bone (tibia)
– Outer shin bone (fibula)

A very important part of the anatomy that enables us to move the knee joint are the tendons that connect the bones to our muscles. Next are the ligaments, which are just as important because they are basically strong attachments that give our knees the stability we need to keep the bones from sliding into each other. We have 4 ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament and the lateral collateral ligament. The final two pieces of this complicated puzzle are the menisci, medial and lateral, that cushion and minimize shock between the thigh and shin bones. We can’t forget the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that help the knee move smoothly.

If you look at an image of the human knee, it is quite easy to see why this is the most injured joint in the body – it looks extremely delicate, as if those ligaments could be torn very easily. The good news is that the knee is much tougher than it appears. Many aches and pains will quickly heal with rest and physical therapy. Unfortunately, there are a lot of conditions that do not easily heal and require intervention or special care, such as osteoarthritis, broken bones, and ligament tears.

If you are having trouble with your knee and would like to see a specialist, call OSC at 757-596-1900 to make an appointment!