Knee Joint Overview

OVERVIEW OF THE KNEE JOINT

One of the largest and most complex joints in the body, the knee joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bones (tibia and fibula). The kneecap (patella) is also part of the knee joint.

Diagram of the Knee by Cioffredi PT

HELPFUL TERMS

Medial: Located at or near the middle.
Lateral: Located at or toward sides.
Anterior: Located at or toward the front.
Posterior: Located at or toward the back.

TISSUES IN THE KNEE

Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that help the knee move smoothly.
Menisci in the knee are two c-shaped pieces of cartilage (medial meniscus: middle; and lateral meniscus: on the side) that act as shock absorbers between the tibia and femur.
Tendons are flexible (but not elastic) cords of strong fibrous collagen tissue that connect knee bones to leg muscles for movement of the joint.
Ligaments are strong, thick bands of tissue that join the bones of the knee to provide stability.
Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligaments The ACL and PCL connect the femur and tibia in a diagonal crisscross to prevent the leg bones from sliding forward and backward on each other.
Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligaments The MCL and LCL are located at the sides of the joint and connect the femur to the fibula (LCL) and to the tibia (MCL).

CONDITIONS OF THE KNEE

  • Patellofemoral Syndrome: Anterior knee pain is a common complaint, especially among… [READ MORE]
  • Osteoarthritis: Sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease, OA is the most common form…[READ MORE]
  • Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome: The most common cause of lateral knee pain in athletes…[READ MORE]
  • Meniscal Tear: A tear to the meniscus usually happens when twisting or turning quickly,  often when the foot is planted and the knee is bent. Meniscal tears can also happen when lifting heavy items or while playing sports. As we age, the meniscus gets worn and is more prone to tearing. A doctor classifies a torn meniscus as minor (slight pain and swelling that usually goes away in 2-3 weeks), moderate (pain and swelling at the center or side of knee that gets worse or comes back periodically), or severe (where pieces of the meniscus have detached, causing catching or locking of the joint).
  • ACL Strain or Tear: An MRI revealed that Dartmouth Triathlete Valentina Sedlacek had torn her ACL…[READ MORE]
  • MCL Strain or Tear: Injuries to the Medial Collateral Ligament occur during activities that involve bending, twisting, or changing direction quickly. This type of injury is often associated with skiing and other sports that involve stop-and-go movements, jumping, or weaving.
  • PCL Strain or Tear: Injuries to the Posterior Cruciate Ligament are often caused by an impact to the knee while it is bent (such as in a fall or an accident). Sports-related PCL injuries are particularly common in football, soccer, baseball, and skiing. Doctors classify PCL injuries from Grade 1 to 4 based on the degree of severity of a tear.
  • Patellar Tendonitis: Also known as “Jumper’s Knee,” patellar tendonitis is most common in athletes who play sports involving jumping or repetitive impact…[READ MORE]

RELATED ARTICLES

Physical Therapy
Resources for Athletes and Coaches
Common Running Injuries
Preventing Skiing Injuries

HOW WE CAN HELP

Call us to schedule an evaluation. We can help you decide if additional medical treatment is needed for your knee pain. A referral is not needed to seek care, but your insurance may require pre-approval (so we advise you to call the Customer Service number, usually on the back of your insurance card).

(603) 643-7788

Immediate Access at 112 Etna Road, Lebanon, NH

SundayClosed
Monday6:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday6:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday6:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday6:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
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