The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body. When a person is walking, the knee supports 1.5 times the body weight. When climbing stairs, the knee absorbs as much as 4 times the body weight. It is no surprise that a lot of people experience pain, tension, and discomfort on the knee. It is important to understand the anatomy of the knee to avoid problems and to find solution for existing issues.
The femur (thigh bone), which is the longest bone in the body is connected to the tibia (shinbone), which is the second longest bone, in the knee. The joints in the knee including the tibiofemoral joint join the tibia to the femur while the patellofemoral connects the kneecap to the femur. This complex anatomy of the knee allows a person to gain important movements including bending, straightening, and rotating slightly from one side to another.
Bones in the Knee
In essence, the anatomy of the knee is composed of four bones including the following:
- Tibia – as was mentioned earlier, this is the shinbone. It is the bone from the knee to the ankle. The top of this bone is composed of a protrusion and two plateaus. At the top of each side of the plateau are cartilages that give stability to the knee.
- Patella – this is the kneecap. It is a triangular, flat bone that moves whenever you move your leg. Its main role is to minimize friction between muscles and bones when a person moves the leg. The patella also protects the joint.
- Femur – the longest bone in the body. Known as the thigh bone, it has knobs that connect it to the knee at the end.
- Fibula –thin bone found on the lower leg. It extends from the knee to the ankle like the tibia.
Using anatomical terms is useful in helping us gain a better understanding of the anatomy of the knee. Below are some terms you may already be familiar with if you’ve experienced knee problems before:
- Posterior – it’s facing the knee, it’s on the back side. Also refers to the back of the kneecap (next to the femur).
- Anterior – it is facing the knee, it’s the front side.
- Lateral – side of the knee farthest from to the other knee.
- Medial – side of the knee closest to the other knee.
One important component that gives knee its suppleness is collagen and elastin. The anatomy of the knee including ligaments, bones, cartilage, joint capsule, and even the bone are made of collagen. As a person age, the collagen in the body starts to break down. It usually results to the lack of suppleness in the joints and difficulty in movement.