What Bones Make Up The Knee Joint: A Comprehensive Guide

By Last Updated: October 24th, 20239.3 min readViews: 2468

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About the Author: Daryl Stubbs
Daryl Stubbs
Daryl Stubbs is a multi-disciplinary health professional, combining his roles as an award-winning athletic therapist, registered massage therapist, and certified holistic nutritionist to offer a comprehensive approach to wellness. Graduating in 2013, Daryl has been recognized as the best massage therapy clinic in Victoria for 2022 and 2023 and has received national athletic therapy awards. He is known for his holistic approach to health, focusing on treating the body as a whole. Clients appreciate his focus on the science of probiotics, supplements, gut health, and the human body, ensuring a well-informed and evidence-based approach to their wellness journey.

The knee joint is one of the most complex and important joints in the human body. It is responsible for supporting the weight of the body and allowing for a wide range of movements, including walking, running, jumping, and bending. The knee joint is made up of several bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that work together to provide stability and flexibility.

The three bones that make up the knee joint are the femur, tibia, and patella. The femur, or thigh bone, is the longest and strongest bone in the human body. It connects the hip to the knee joint and is responsible for supporting the weight of the body. The tibia, or shinbone, is located below the femur and is responsible for bearing most of the weight of the body. The patella, or kneecap, is a small, triangular bone located at the front of the knee joint. It helps to protect the knee joint and improve its range of motion.

Key Takeaway: The knee joint is made up of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap).

The femur has two rounded joint surfaces, known as condyles, at its lower end, which form the knee joint with the tibia.

The patella sits over the other bones at the front of the knee. The ends of the bones are covered with a layer of cartilage, which absorbs shock and allows the bones to glide easily against one another as they move.

Between the tibia and femur bone are two crescent-shaped pads of cartilage that reduce friction and disperse the weight of the body across the joint

Overview of the Knee Joint

The knee joint is a complex hinge joint that connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and the kneecap (patella). It is the largest joint in the body and is responsible for supporting the weight of the body and allowing movements such as walking, running, jumping, and bending.

The knee joint is classified as a synovial joint, which means it is surrounded by a capsule filled with synovial fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint. The joint is also supported by several ligaments, tendons, and muscles that help to stabilize and move the knee.

The knee joint is made up of two articulations: the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint. The tibiofemoral joint is the main joint of the knee and is formed by the articulation of the femur and tibia bones. The patellofemoral joint is formed by the articulation of the patella and femur bones.

The knee joint is a weight-bearing joint, which means it is subjected to a lot of stress and strain. As a result, it is prone to injuries such as sprains, strains, and tears of the ligaments, tendons, and muscles that support the joint. It is also susceptible to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, which can cause pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

In summary, the knee joint is a complex and important joint that is responsible for supporting the weight of the body and allowing movements such as walking, running, and jumping. It is made up of several bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that work together to stabilize and move the joint. However, due to its weight-bearing nature, the knee joint is also prone to injuries and degenerative conditions that can affect its function.

Bones of the Knee Joint

The knee joint is made up of three bones: the femur, tibia, and patella. These bones come together to form two articulations, which allow for the complex movements of the knee joint.

Femur

The femur, also known as the thigh bone, is the longest and strongest bone in the human body. It runs from the hip to the knee and forms the upper part of the knee joint. The rounded end of the femur, known as the femoral condyles, articulate with the tibia to form the tibiofemoral joint.

Tibia

The tibia, also known as the shin bone, is the second largest bone in the human body. It runs from the knee to the ankle and forms the lower part of the knee joint. The top of the tibia, known as the tibial plateau, articulates with the femur to form the tibiofemoral joint. The tibia also forms the bottom part of the knee joint, where it articulates with the talus bone of the ankle.

Patella

The patella, also known as the kneecap, is a small, triangular bone that sits in front of the knee joint. It is embedded in the tendon of the quadriceps muscle and helps to protect the knee joint. The patella articulates with the femur to form the patellofemoral joint.

In summary, the knee joint is made up of the femur, tibia, and patella, which come together to form two articulations: the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint. Understanding the anatomy of these bones is crucial for diagnosing and treating knee injuries and conditions.

Articulations of the Knee Joint

The knee joint is a complex hinge joint that connects three bones: the femur, tibia, and patella. There are two main articulations in the knee joint: the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint.

Tibiofemoral Joint

The tibiofemoral joint is the weight-bearing component of the knee joint. It is where the medial and lateral condyles of the femur articulate with the tibial condyles. This joint is responsible for flexion and extension of the knee joint, allowing us to walk, run, and jump.

The tibiofemoral joint is made up of several important structures, including the menisci, ligaments, and synovial membrane. The menisci are two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that sit between the femur and tibia. They act as shock absorbers, helping to distribute weight and force evenly across the joint.

The ligaments of the tibiofemoral joint include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). These ligaments provide stability to the knee joint and help prevent excessive movement in any direction.

Patellofemoral Joint

The patellofemoral joint is where the patella (kneecap) meets the femur. This joint is responsible for the gliding and rotation of the patella as the knee joint flexes and extends. The patella acts as a fulcrum, increasing the leverage of the quadriceps muscle and allowing for greater force production during activities such as jumping and kicking.

The patellofemoral joint is also important for distributing weight and force across the knee joint. The articular surfaces of the patella and femur are lined with hyaline cartilage, which helps to absorb shock and reduce friction during movement.

In summary, the knee joint is a complex hinge joint that connects the femur, tibia, and patella. The tibiofemoral joint is responsible for flexion and extension of the knee joint, while the patellofemoral joint is responsible for the gliding and rotation of the patella. Understanding the anatomy and function of these articulations is important for maintaining joint health and preventing injury.

Functions of the Knee Joint

The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body, and its primary function is to provide mobility and stability to the legs. It is a hinge joint that connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and allows for a range of movements, including bending, straightening, and rotating. Here are some of the key functions of the knee joint:

Weight-bearing

The knee joint is responsible for supporting the weight of the body and transmitting it to the ground. When we stand, walk, run, or jump, the knee joint absorbs the impact of our movements and distributes the weight evenly across the joint surfaces. This weight-bearing function is essential for maintaining balance and stability during upright activities.

Flexibility

The knee joint is also highly flexible, allowing for a wide range of movements in different directions. The joint can flex, or bend, to bring the foot closer to the buttocks, and extend, or straighten, to push the foot away from the body. Additionally, the knee joint can rotate slightly to accommodate changes in direction during walking or running.

Shock absorption

The knee joint is equipped with several structures that act as shock absorbers, including the menisci, which are crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage that cushion the joint surfaces, and the synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint and reduces friction between the bones. These shock-absorbing structures help to protect the knee joint from damage and reduce the risk of injury during high-impact activities.

Stability

Finally, the knee joint provides stability to the lower extremities by connecting the thigh bone and the shin bone with a network of ligaments and muscles. The ligaments, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), help to prevent excessive movement of the knee joint, while the muscles, including the quadriceps and hamstrings, provide additional support and control during movement. This stability function is crucial for maintaining balance and preventing falls and injuries.

Common Knee Joint Injuries

The knee joint is a complex structure that is vulnerable to various injuries. Knee injuries are common, especially among athletes and people who engage in physical activities that involve a lot of running, jumping, and sudden stops. Here are some common knee joint injuries:

ACL Injury

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four ligaments that connect the femur to the tibia. It is responsible for stabilizing the knee joint and preventing excessive forward movement of the tibia. ACL injuries are common among athletes who engage in sports that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, and jumping. Symptoms of an ACL injury include pain, swelling, and instability in the knee joint.

Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the knee joint and helps distribute weight. Meniscus tears are common among athletes who engage in sports that involve twisting or pivoting movements. Symptoms of a meniscus tear include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee joint.

Patellar Tendinitis

The patellar tendon connects the patella to the tibia. It is responsible for straightening the knee joint and supporting the body’s weight. Patellar tendinitis is an overuse injury that is common among athletes who engage in sports that involve a lot of jumping and landing. Symptoms of patellar tendinitis include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the knee joint.

Bursitis

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee joint and reduce friction between the bones, tendons, and muscles. Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae in the knee joint. It is common among athletes who engage in sports that involve a lot of kneeling or direct blows to the knee. Symptoms of bursitis include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the knee joint.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the cartilage in the knee joint. It is common among people over the age of 50, but it can also affect younger people who have had knee injuries in the past. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the knee joint.

In conclusion, knee joint injuries are common and can be caused by various factors such as overuse, trauma, and degeneration. If you experience any symptoms of knee joint injuries, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent further damage and promote healing.

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