The Knee Joint
The knee is a hinge joint with a simple purpose: to bend (flex) or straighten (extend). Whilst this explanation makes the knee joint sound simple, there are a lot of structures, including bones, ligaments and muscles that make up this joint! These structures that make up the knee (in combination with other joints in the body) allow us to perform activities, like walking, running and kicking.
However, an issue with one of these knee structures or with joints above or below the knee could result in us having difficulties in performing these day-to-day, as well as higher level tasks! Four different bones come together at our knee and make up of two different joints. These bones are the femur (big thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), fibula (small bone on outside of shin) and the patella (kneecap). The femur and tibia form our tibiofemoral joint, that is the main weight-bearing joint of the knee. The femur and patella form our patellofemoral joint (at the front of our knee) that helps improve knee movements.
Within our tibiofemoral joint, we have four main ligaments that help provide stability and two menisci (cartilage discs) that provide shock-absorption. The anterior cruciate (ACL) and posterior cruciate (PCL) ligaments are located inside of the knee, with the medial collateral (MCL) and lateral collateral (LCL) ligaments on either side of the knee. These ligaments have an important role in preventing forward, sideward and twisting movements of our knee. The menisci are situated within the joint and allow for smooth movement of the joint and prevent the bones from rubbing on each other.
These ligaments and meniscus are often injured in sports such as soccer, netball and rugby league, where there is pivoting, jumping and landing, or contact from other players that push these structures past their limits.
Stay tuned for more about knee injuries or “what can go wrong” in my next post.
Heath has a strong interest in lower limb injuries and he loves to help you get out of pain and return to the activities you love! He has recently been appointed as the physiotherapist to the Cronulla Sharks Women’s Rugby League teams where he is managing acute (new) and chronic (longstanding) knee injuries!