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Knee

Knee Anatomy

Anatomy of the shoulder

Knee Anatomy

The knee is a complex joint made up of different structures - bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. They all work together to maintain the knee’s normal function and provide stability to the knee during movement.

Having a well-functioning healthy knee is essential for our mobility and ability to participate in various activities. Understanding the anatomy of the knee enhances your ability to discuss and choose the right treatment procedure for knee problems with your doctor.

Bones of the Knee

The knee is a hinge joint made up of two bones, the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). There are two round knobs at the end of the femur called femoral condyles that articulate with the flat surface of the tibia called the tibial plateau. The tibial plateau on the inside of the leg is called the medial tibial plateau and on the outside of the leg, the lateral tibial plateau.

The two femoral condyles form a groove on the front (anterior) side of the knee called the patellofemoral groove. A small bone called the patella sits in this groove and forms the kneecap. It acts as a shield and protects the knee joint from direct trauma.

A fourth bone called the fibula is the other bone of the lower leg. This forms a small joint with the tibia. This joint has very little movement and is not considered a part of the main joint of the knee.

Articular Cartilage and Menisci of the Knee

Movement of the bones causes friction between the articulating surfaces. To reduce this friction, all articulating surfaces involved in the movement are covered with a white, shiny, slippery layer called articular cartilage. The articulating surface of the femoral condyles, tibial plateaus and the back of the patella are covered with this cartilage. The cartilage provides a smooth surface that facilitates easy movement.

To further reduce friction between the articulating surfaces of the bones, the knee joint is lined by a synovial membrane that produces a thick clear fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and bones inside the joint capsule.

Within the knee joint, between the femur and tibia, are two C-shaped cartilaginous structures called menisci. Menisci function to provide stability to the knee by spreading the weight of the upper body across the whole surface of the tibial plateau. The menisci help in load-bearing i.e. it prevents the weight from concentrating onto a small area, which could damage the articular cartilage. The menisci also act as a cushion between the femur and tibia by absorbing the shock produced by activities such as walking, running and jumping.

Ligaments of the Knee

Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that connect one bone to another bone. The ligaments of the knee stabilize the knee joint. There are two important groups of ligaments that hold the bones of the knee joint together, collateral and cruciate ligaments.

Collateral ligaments are present on either side of the knee. They prevent the knee from moving too far during side to side motion. The collateral ligament on the inside is called the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the collateral ligament on the outside is called the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

Cruciate ligaments, present inside the knee joint, control the back-and-forth motion of the knee. The cruciate ligament in the front of the knee is called anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the cruciate ligament in the back of the knee is called posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

Muscles of the Knee

There are two major muscles in the knee - the quadriceps and the hamstrings, which enable movement of the knee joint. The quadriceps muscles are located in front of the thigh. When the quadriceps muscles contract, the knee straightens. The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh. When the hamstring muscles contract, the knee bends.

Tendons of the Knee

A tendon is a tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. The quadriceps muscles of the knee meet just above the patella and attach to it through a tendon called the quadriceps tendon. The patella further attaches to the tibia through a tendon called the patella tendon. The quadriceps muscle, quadriceps tendon, and patellar tendon all work together to straighten the knee. Similarly, the hamstring muscles at the back of the leg are attached to the knee joint with the hamstring tendon.

Conditions

Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint. Arthritis is a general term covering numerous conditions where the joint surface or cartilage wears out. This surface can wear out for several reasons; often the definite cause is not known. Arthritis often affects the knee joint.

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common condition affecting individuals of various age groups. It not only affects movement but also impacts your quality of life. An injury or disease of the knee joint or any structure surrounding the knee can result in knee pain. A precise diagnosis of the underlying cause is important to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Procedures

Robotic Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Robotic Unicondylar Knee Replacement

A unicondylar knee replacement is a procedure to replace part of the knee joint with a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and improve the function of the joint. Advances in technology have allowed this procedure to be performed in a minimally invasive manner with robotic assistance.

Correction of a Failed Knee Replacement

Correction of a Failed Knee Replacement

Reoperation of a total hip replacement to resolve a painful hip condition arising out of a damaged or worn out prosthesis (artificial hip joint) is known as correction of a failed hip replacement. During this corrective surgery, a partial or complete exchange of the prostheses that were implanted during the original surgery is done.

Minimally Invasive Knee Joint Replacement

Minimally Invasive Knee Joint Replacement

Total knee replacement is a very successful surgical treatment for knee arthritis. Over the years, minimally invasive knee replacement surgical techniques have been developed to lessen tissue trauma and improve patient outcomes.

Minimally Invasive Partial Knee Replacement

Minimally Invasive Partial Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement is an alternative to total knee replacement in patients with arthritis on only one side of the knee. Partial knee replacement is a surgical procedure which involves resurfacing and replacement of only the diseased surface of the joint instead of the entire joint.

Patient Specific Knee Replacement

Patient Specific Knee Replacement

Patient Specific Knee Replacement is a newer technology in total knee replacement surgery. It is an advanced procedure using an individualized patient-specific knee implant for replacement of all three components of the knee.

Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Unicondylar Knee Replacement

Unicompartmental knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgery in which only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced with an implant. It is also called a partial knee replacement.

Custom Knee Replacement

Custom Knee Replacement

Custom Knee Replacement is an advanced surgical procedure in which the damaged knee joint is replaced by a customized implant, specifically designed to match the unique size and shape of each patient’s knee.

Unicompartmental/Partial Knee Replacement

Unicompartmental/Partial Knee Replacement

Unicompartmental knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgery in which only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced with an implant. It is also called a partial knee replacement.

Patellofemoral Knee Replacement

Patellofemoral Knee Replacement

Traditionally, arthritis in only one compartment of the knee is treated by partial knee replacement surgery. Patellofemoral knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgical option performed in the patellofemoral compartment only, preserving the knee parts not damaged by arthritis as well as the stabilizing anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL).

Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the worn out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial prosthesis.

Revision Knee Replacement

Revision Knee Replacement

Revision knee replacement surgery involves replacing a part or all your previous knee prosthesis with a new prosthesis. Although total knee replacement surgery is successful, sometimes the procedure can fail due to various reasons and may require a second revision surgery.

Robotic Assisted Knee Replacement

Robotic Assisted Knee Replacement

Robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery is an alternative to the conventional knee replacement procedure. It is performed using robotic-arm technology that allows your surgeon to precisely perform the surgery through a smaller incision as compared to traditional surgery.

Robotic Assisted Partial Knee Surgery

Robotic Assisted Partial Knee Surgery

Robotic-assisted partial knee surgery is an innovative alternative to the conventional surgical procedure to treat degenerative knee diseases such as osteoarthritis. It is performed using robotic-arm technology that allows your surgeon to precisely perform the surgery through small incisions.

Outpatient Total Knee Replacement

Outpatient Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is the surgical treatment for knee arthritis, where the damaged knee is removed and replaced with an artificial knee implant. Traditionally performed as an inpatient procedure, total knee replacement surgery is now being conducted on an outpatient basis, allowing you to go home on the same day of the surgery.

Tricompartmental Knee Replacement

Tricompartmental Knee Replacement

Tricompartmental knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the worn-out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts.

Custom-fitted Total Knee Arthroplasty

Custom-fitted Total Knee Arthroplasty

Custom-fitted total knee arthroplasty is a newer more advanced technology in total knee replacement surgery that uses an individualized patient-specific knee implant for the replacement of all three components of the knee.

Partial Medial Knee Replacement

Partial Medial Knee Replacement

Partial medial knee replacement is a surgery to replace only the medial part of your damaged knee. It is also called unicompartmental knee replacement.

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • Michigan State Medical Society
  • Michigan Orthopaedic Society