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A Look at the Structure of the Human Knee

Last updated 2 years ago

The knee is one of the most frequently addressed areas of the body in orthopaedics and physical therapy. This is not surprising, considering how complexly structured the human knee is. Knowing how the knee works is not just fascinating—this knowledge can also help you prevent knee injuries. Read on to learn exactly how the human knee is structured.

• Ligaments
The knee is actually comprised of four different structures that work in tandem: the collateral ligaments, the cruciate ligaments, the articular cartilages, and the menisci. The collateral ligaments are located both on the inside and outside of the knee, with those on the inside called medial collateral ligaments (MCL) and those on the outside called lateral collateral ligaments (LCL). Together with the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, or ACL and PCL, these comprise the four major stabilizing ligaments of the knee and work to limit the knee joint’s motion.

• Cartilage and Menisci
Articular cartilage is a smooth white tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form joints. Healthy cartilage helps bones glide over one another without much friction. The knee joint contains a large amount of articular cartilage, as well as two C-shaped wedges of tough cartilaginous tissue called the menisci, which are found between the femur, or thigh bone, and the tibia, or shin bone. The medial meniscus is located on the inside of the knee, while the lateral meniscus is found on the outside. These help to evenly distribute body weight across the knee and act as shock-absorbers.

• Kneecap
The patella, or kneecap, is a small bone which protects the knee joint and articulates with the femur. This bone is embedded within a tendon which connects the thigh muscles to the tibia below, promoting movement within the joint.

If you have suffered a knee injury, the orthopaedic surgeons at Bartlett-based Suburban Orthopaedics can diagnose the problem and provide an appropriate treatment. To find out more about orthopaedic surgery or physical therapy, please call us today at (888) 876-0117.


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