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Knee Anatomy

The knee is a complex joint made up of different structures including bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. They all work together to maintain 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 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 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 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 which 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, there 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 by preventing 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 function to stabilize the knee joint. There are two important groups of ligaments that hold the bones of the knee joint together, collateral ligaments and the cruciate ligament.

Collateral ligaments are present on either side of the knee. They function to 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 or ACL and the cruciate ligament in the back of the knee is called posterior cruciate ligament or PCL.

Muscles of the Knee

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

Tendons of the Knee

Tendons are structures that attach muscles to the 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.

Kneecap Bursitis

Kneecap Bursitis

Bursitis refers to the inflammation and swelling of the bursa. Inflammation of the bursa in front of the kneecap (patella) is known as kneecap bursitis or prepatellar bursitis.

Knee Injury

Knee Injury

Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the common symptoms of any damage or injury to the knee. If care is not taken during the initial phases of injury, it may lead to joint damage, which may end up destroying your knee.

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.

Knee Infection

Knee Infection

Knee infection is a serious medical condition that needs immediate treatment. Infection may occur followed by a knee replacement surgery or trauma and is usually caused by bacteria.

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.

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

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.

Ligament Injuries

Ligament Injuries

Knee problems may arise if any of these structures get injured by overuse or suddenly during sports activities. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the common symptoms of any damage or injury to the knee.

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.

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common condition affecting individuals of various age groups. It not only affects movement but also impacts your quality of life.

PCL Injuries

PCL Injuries

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), one of the four major ligaments of the knee, is situated at the back of the knee. It connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia).

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).

Knee Fracture

Knee Fracture

A fracture is a condition in which there is a break in the continuity of the bone. In younger individuals, these fractures are caused by high energy injuries, as from a motor vehicle accident.

Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage).

Knee Sports Injuries

Knee Sports Injuries

Trauma is any injury caused during physical activity, motor vehicle accidents, electric shock, or other activities. Sports trauma or sports injuries refer to injuries caused while playing indoor or outdoor sports and exercising.

Multiligament Knee Injuries

Multiligament Knee Injuries

Injury to more than one knee ligament is called a multiligament knee injury and may occur during sports or other physical activities.

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain is characterized by chronic pain over the front and center of the knee joint. It is common in athletes, active adolescents (especially girls) and overweight individuals.

Runner's Knee

Runner's Knee

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.

Osteochondral Defects

Osteochondral Defects

Coming soon

Partial Arthroscopic Meniscectomy

Partial Arthroscopic Meniscectomy

Partial arthroscopic meniscectomy is a procedure to remove the damaged part of a meniscus in the knee joint with the help an arthroscope. The meniscus is a C-shaped disc of cartilage between your thighbone and shinbone.

Knee Fracture Surgery

Knee Fracture Surgery

A knee fracture is a broken bone or a crack in or around the joint of the knee. This can involve the tibia (shin bone), the kneecap (patella), or femur (thighbone) where they connect with the knee.

Arthroscopic Debridement

Arthroscopic Debridement

Arthroscopic debridement or a clean-up is a surgical procedure performed using an arthroscope. In this procedure, the cartilage or the bone that is damaged is removed using surgical instruments and the edges of the articular cartilage that are rough will be smoothened.

Meniscal Transplantation

Meniscal Transplantation

Meniscal transplantation is a surgical procedure to replace the damaged meniscus of the knee with healthy cartilage.

Meniscectomy

Meniscectomy

Meniscectomy is a surgical procedure indicated in individuals with torn meniscus where the conservative treatments are a failure to relieve the pain and other symptoms.

Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Outpatient Unicondylar Knee Replacement

A unicondylar knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental or partial knee replacement, is a procedure to replace a portion of the damaged knee joint with a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and improve function of the knee joint.

Unicondylar knee Replacement

Unicondylar knee Replacement

Unicompartmental knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgery in which only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced with an implant. It is also called a partial knee replacement.

Viscosupplementation

Viscosupplementation

Viscosupplementation refers to the injection of a hyaluronan preparation into the joint. Hyaluronan is a natural substance present in the joint fluid that assists in lubrication.

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.

Multiligament Reconstruction of the Knee

Multiligament Reconstruction of the Knee

Multiligament knee reconstruction is a surgical procedure to repair or replace two or more damaged ligaments of the knee joint. The surgery can be performed using minimally invasive techniques.

Unicompartmental/Partial Knee Replacement

Unicompartmental/Partial Knee Replacement

Unicompartmental knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgery in which only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced with an implant. It is also called a partial knee replacement.

Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the worn out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial prosthesis.

Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

Medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction is a surgical procedure indicated for severe patellar instability.

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.

MCL Reconstruction

MCL Reconstruction

An injury to the MCL may occur as a result of direct impact to the knee. An MCL injury can result in a minor stretch (sprain), or a partial or complete tear of the ligament.

Outpatient Total Knee Replacement

Outpatient Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is the surgical treatment for knee arthritis, where the damaged knee is removed and replaced with an artificial knee implant.

Tricompartmental Knee Replacement

Tricompartmental Knee Replacement

Tricompartmental knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the worn-out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts.

Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage replacement is a surgical procedure performed to replace the worn-out cartilage with new cartilage.

Partial Meniscectomy

Partial Meniscectomy

Partial meniscectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the torn portion of the meniscus from the knee joint.

Meniscal Surgery

Meniscal Surgery

A meniscus tear is the commonest knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. A sudden bend or twist in your knee can cause the meniscus to tear.

PCL Reconstruction

PCL Reconstruction

PCL injuries are very rare and are more difficult to detect than other knee ligament injuries. Cartilage injuries, bone bruises, and ligament injuries often occur in combination with PCL injuries.

Reconstruction of Posterolateral Corner Injuries

Reconstruction of Posterolateral Corner Injuries

Posterolateral corner injury is damage or injury to the structures of the posterolateral corner. The structures of the posterolateral corner include the lateral collateral ligament, the popliteus tendon, and the popliteo-fibular ligament. Injuries to the posterolateral corner most often occur with athletic trauma, motor-vehicle accidents, and falls.

Microfracture Surgery

Microfracture Surgery

Coming soon

Knee Implants

Knee Implants

Knee implants are artificial devices that form the essential parts of the knee during a knee replacement surgery. The knee implants vary by size, shape, and material.

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Delta Orthopaedics

3240 Lone Tree Way
Suite 200
Antioch, CA 94509 USA