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Anatomy of the Knee

The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body. Responsible for attaching the upper leg to the lower leg, the knee joint is comprised of muscle, cartilage, bursae, tendons, ligaments, and four bones: the patella, femur, tibia, and fibula.

The knee is a pivotal hinge joint which allows the lower leg to flex and extend in line with the upper leg, as well as slightly twist from side to side. As the body’s largest joint, the knee is critical for everyday functions such as standing, sitting, walking, running, and jumping. It must provide the flexibility necessary to walk, but provide enough stability to support our entire body weight while standing up.

Here are some of the main components of the knee, as well as their anatomical functions:

  • Patella: The patella is the kneecap bone. In addition to providing protection, the patella also helps in leg extension by increasing the leverage exerted on the femur.

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament: The ACL is responsible for preventing your tibia from moving too far forward.

  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament: The PCL is responsible for preventing your tibia from moving too far backward.

  • Medial Collateral Ligament: The MCL provides stability to the inner part of the knee and helps prevent the femur from sliding side-to-side.

  • Lateral Collateral Ligament: The LCL provides stability to the outer part of the knee and helps prevent the femur from sliding side-to-side.

  • Menisci: Both the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus reduce friction in the knee and act as a shock absorber to evenly disperse weight across the entire joint.

 

Due to the high levels of stress placed on the joint during athletic activity, knee injuries are a fairly common occurrence in most sports. As southern Connecticut’s largest orthopedic practice, Orthopaedic Specialty Group has the experience and technology necessary to diagnose and treat any knee condition. If you have recently suffered from a sports injury or are otherwise experiencing any pain in your knee, schedule an appointment with one of our licensed orthopedic physicians by calling (203) 337-2600.

 
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