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The knee joint is one of the strongest and most important joints in the human body. It allows the lower leg to move relative to the thigh while supporting the body’s weight. Movements at the knee joint are essential to many everyday activities, including walking, running, sitting and standing.
The knee, is a hinge joint formed between three bones: the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and patella (knee cap). The bottom end of the femur meets the top end of the tibia and forms a hinge. The patella lies in front of the femur and glide in a groove in front of the knee as it bends aback and forth.
The joint-forming surfaces of each bone are covered in a thin layer of "articular cartilage" that gives them an extremely smooth surface and protects the underlying bone from damage. Between the femur and tibia is a figure-eight-shaped layer of tough, rubbery cartilage known as the meniscus. The meniscus acts as a shock-absorber inside the knee to prevent the collision of the leg bones during strenuous activities such as running and jumping.
As with all synovial joints, a joint capsule surrounds the bones of the knee to provide strength and lubrication. The outer layer of the capsule is made of fibrous connective tissue continuous with the ligaments of the knee to hold the joint in place. Oily synovial fluid is produced by the synovial membrane that lines the joint capsule and fills the hollow space between the bones, lubricating the knee to reduce friction and wear.
Many strong ligaments surround the joint capsule of the knee to reinforce its structure and hold its bones in the proper alignment. The knee functions to permit the bending and straightening of the lower leg relative to the thigh.
With injuries, wear and tear, or damage to the structures around the knee. This can lead to pain stiffness and limitations in activities. Below are some of the common disorders, and treatment options to help restore function and activity.