Therapy & Investigation
The knee is a joint of large proportions, protected only by a thin layer of soft tissue. It contains numerous elements, which may cause complaints in case of injuries, tears, and deterioration.
The knee consists of the following components:
- The joints between the kneecap and femur, and tibia and femur, respectively, are in a common space.
- During the course of knee extension, the joint surface of the tibia moves forward and backward on the joint surface of the femur.
- During extending and bending movements, the kneecap also slides in its own joint, located in the groove on the femur. A strong tendon attaches the kneecap to the tibia, which allows the quadriceps muscle to aid in extending the knee and keep it extended. Internal and external stabilizing ligaments prevent the kneecap from dislocating during the course of knee movement.
- An extremely smooth cartilage (glass cartilage) covers all joint surfaces. If this cartilage is healthy, a small amount of mucous lubricating joint fluid constantly provides friction free and pain free motions of the joint surface.
- Also other types of cartilage are present in the knee joint: Two semi-lunar cartilages (internal and external menisci) partially supplement the edges of the flat, but minimally excavated joint surfaces of the tibia.
These increase the extent of the weight-bearing surface, thus reducing the tension transferred to the tibia. Furthermore, they also have a shock absorbing function, that is, they play a role in reducing the dynamic load exerted on the bones. They consist of fibrous cartilage, the material of which is similar to a hard, but elastic plastic or vulcanite. The outer edges of the semi-lunar cartilages are adherent with the joint capsule in a semicircular manner.
- Tendons, ligaments and the joint capsule connect the bones, making up the knee joint. By the frequency of their injuries, four ligaments are the most important: two collateral and two cruciate ligaments. The collateral ligaments: the internal and the external collateral ligament. The cruciate ligaments are in the centre of the knee joint, and include the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. Ligaments, tendons, the joint capsule and the menisci prevent the pathological dislocation of the bones during knee movement.
- The knee, like all other joints, is lined with a synovial membrane; its secreted fluid lubricates and nourishes the sliding surfaces.