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The Knee

All About the Knee Joint

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Updated June 12, 2012

The knee joint is the connection between the thigh and the leg. Three bones come together at the knee joint, and the knee is surrounded by four major ligaments. The knee joint surface is covered by a layer of smooth cartilage, and shock-absorbing meniscus wedges sit between the bone ends at the knee joint. Learn about the knee joint, knee injuries, and treatment of common knee conditions.

1. Knee Anatomy

Photo © A.D.A.M.
The knee joint is a hinge joint that allows for motion in one plane. Compare this to the ball-and-socket joint of the hip that can be moved in many directions. The knee joint anatomy is dependent on the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that surround the knee. Understanding the anatomy of the knee can help you understand the causes of knee problems.

2. Knee Pictures & Images

knee image anatomy
Photo © A.D.A.M.
The knee joint involves the complex interaction of bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Understanding knee problems requires a basic understanding of what is going on inside the knee. Learn about basic knee anatomy with the use of images and diagrams that explain how this complex joint allows us to move the knee joint. By learning how things should work, you can understand why things go wrong when knees are injured.

3. Causes of Knee Pain

knee pain
Image © Sebastian Kaulitzki
Knee pain is an extremely common complaint, and there are many causes. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. Learn about what causes knee pain, how these conditions are diagnosed, and what treatments are available for the most common causes of knee pain.

4. Knee Arthritis

Image © Medical Multimedia Group
The word arthritis means inflammation of a joint. The most common type of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is often referred to as "wear-and-tear" arthritis, and it results in the wearing away of the normal smooth cartilage until bare bone is exposed. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, and lupus arthritis.

5. Knee Arthroscopy

Photo © Piotr Wzietek
Arthroscopic surgery is a common orthopedic procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems in joints. The word "arthroscopy" comes from two Greek words: 'arthro,' meaning "joint," and 'scope,' meaning "look." Simply put, arthroscopic surgery is a means to look inside a joint. But arthroscopy is much more than that!

6. Knee Replacement Surgery

Image © Medical Multimedia Group
Knee replacement surgery is the most common joint replacement procedure. A knee replacement surgery is performed when the joint has deteriorated from arthritis, and the symptoms of knee pain can no longer be controlled with simple treatments. Knee replacements are made from metal and plastic implants.

7. Knee Exercises

Photo © Christine Glade
Knee pain is among the most commonly encountered orthopedic problems. While there are many causes of knee pain, most can be helped with some specific stretching and strengthening exercises. Even if surgery is necessary on the knee, rehabilitation exercises will certainly be a part of your recovery process. If surgery is necessary, we know that rehab tends to be a smoother process in stronger knees. Patients with stronger muscles around the knee going into surgery have a faster, more successful recovery.
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