The knee joint, which appears like a simple hinge-joint, is one of the most complex joints in the body.
The knee joint is made up of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (lower leg bone) and patella (the kneecap). All these bones are lined with articular cartilage (surface cartilage). This articular cartilage acts like a shock absorber and allows a smooth, low friction surface for the knee to move on. Between the tibia and femur lie two floating cartilages called menisci.
The medial (inner) meniscus and the lateral (outer) meniscus rest on the tibial surface cartilage and are mobile. The menisci also act as shock absorbers and stabilizers. The knee is stabilized by ligaments that are both inside and outside the joint. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments support the knee from excessive side to side movement. The (internal) anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments support the knee from buckling and giving way. The knee joint is surrounded by a capsule (envelope) that produces a small amount of synovial (lubricating) fluid to help with smooth motion. Thigh muscles are important secondary knee stabilizers.
We tend to ignore our knees until something happens to them that causes pain. If we take good care of our knees now, before there is a problem, we can really help ourselves.
In addition, if some problems with the knees develop, an exercise program can be extremely beneficial. To understand the functions, conditions, surgeries & procedures of the knee better, we have included an interactive animated presentation.
Click on the topics below to go to the desired section
Normal anatomy of the Knee Joint
How does the knee joint work?
Find out more in this web based movie.
Arthritis of the knee joint
The term arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage.
Click here to go to the section on arthritis.
Arthroscopy of the knee joint.
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which an arthroscope is inserted into a joint. Arthroscopy is a term that comes from two Greek words “arthro”, meaning “joint” and “skopein”, meaning to “examine”.
The benefits of arthroscopy involve smaller incisions, faster healing, a more rapid recovery, and less scarring. Arthroscopic surgical procedures are often performed on an outpatient basis and the patient is able to return home on the same day.
Find out more about Knee Arthroscopy from the following links.
Total Knee Replacement (TKR).
A total knee replacement (TKR) or total knee arthroplasty is a surgery that resurfaces an arthritic knee joint with an artificial metal or plastic replacement parts called the ‘prostheses’.
Find out more about Total Knee Replacement with the following links.
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major stabilising ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope like structure located in the centre of the knee running from the femur to the tibia. When this ligament tears unfortunately it doesn’t heal and often leads to the feeling of instability in the knee.
ACL reconstruction is a commonly performed surgical procedure and with recent advances in arthroscopic surgery can now be performed with minimal incisions and low complication rates.
ACL Reconstruction Hamstring tendon.
ACL Reconstruction Patellar tendon
Uni condylar knee replacement.
This simply means that only a part of the knee joint is replaced through a smaller incision than would normally be used for a total knee replacement. The knee joint is made up of 3 compartments, the patellofemoral and medial and lateral compartments between the femur and tibia (i.e. the long bones of the leg). Often only one of these compartments wears out, usually the medial one. If you have symptoms and X-ray findings suggestive of this then you may be suitable for this procedure.
Find out more about Unicondylar Knee Resurfacing with the following links.
This means that part or all of your previous knee replacement needs to be revised. This operation varies from very minor adjustments to massive operations replacing significant amounts of bone and hence is difficult to describe in full.
Find out more about Revision Knee Replacement with the following links.