Have you ever wondered what would it be like if we do not have knees? At some point in your childhood, you must have tried walking with your stiffed knees– like a robot. It looks funny then, but definitely very inconvenient if such is really our case.
The human knee is the largest and most complicated joint among the 360 joints in the human body. Basically, it is the connecting part of our leg and thigh which functions as a hinge joint. In other words, the knee is primarily responsible for our flexible movement which allows us to walk properly.
The knee, being a hinge joint, bends and rotates, and to some extent, sideward. These movements are made possible through the following three primary anatomical parts of the knee: bones, ligaments, and cartilage, among others.
Parts of the Knee
1. The Bones around the Knee
- Femur or thigh bone – This is the longest and strongest bone in the human body. In fact, the length of the thigh bone is approximately 26.7% of a person’s total height. Also, Femur is the only bone supporting the upper leg.
- Tibiaor shinbone/shank bone – This is the second-largest and strongest bone next to femur located from the knee down to the ankle. Tibia is responsible for 80 to 90 percent weight carried by the knee. The shinbone is found on the side of the leg next to the fibula.
- Patella or kneecap – This part of the knee is a semi-flat and triangular bone found on the knee itself. Patella is primarily responsible in the bending movement of the knee as it supports the force created by the muscles. Also, the kneecap also protects the joins of the knee from any physical stress it may suffer from various strenuous activities.
- Fibula or calf bone – This is another leg bone found on the lateral side of the tibia or shin bone. The fibula is the slenderest among the long bones such as the femur or tibia. Primarily, it serves as a link for the muscles and ligaments which allows leverage for the muscle force. Like Tibia, the calf bone also assists in carrying some weight while providing stability to the knee joint.
2. The Ligaments in the Knee
Ligaments are tough, but not flexible bands which attach different bones to other bones. Basically, these parts of the knee are responsible for keeping the connection between bones stable and reliable. After all, bones are cartilages on their own does not possess enough flexibility for proper movements.
- Medial Collateral Ligament(MCL) – This is located on the inner side of the knee which attached the femur and tibia both on the medial sides. In order to stabilize the knee joint, MCL primarily limits the sideward movement of the knees.
- Lateral Collateral Ligament(LCL) – This is located on the outer side of the knee which attached the femur and tibia both on the lateral sides. Like MCL, it also limits the sideward movement of the knees. However, since LCL belongs to the extrinsic or outer part of the knee ligaments, it is prone to sprain and injury.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – This ligament attaches the tibia and the femur. Basically, it limits both the forward and rotational movement of the tibia with respect to the femur.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)– Similar to ACL, PCL connects the tibia and the femur together. Primarily, it limits both the backward and rotational movement of the tibia with respect to the femur.
- Patellar ligament – Commonly known as tendons, the Patellar ligaments attaches the patella or kneecap to the tibia.
- Joint Capsule or Articular Capsule – this is thick envelope which surrounds the knee joint.
3. The Cartilage of the Knee
There are two types of cartilages around the knee which primarily acts as shock absorbers: meniscus and articular cartilage. The former acts as a cushion between the bones in order to prevent friction; while the latter allows bones to collide with each other seamlessly.
Other parts of the Knees
Aside from the three primary knee structures, there are also other anatomical parts of the knee which assist in supporting its movement, stability, and flexibility.
- Muscles – This strengthens the leg and flexibility of the knee.
- Bursae – With around 13 bursae around the knees, this fluid-filled pouches prevents friction between the tissues surrounding the knee.
- Plicae – These are folds within the knee joint.
- Arteries and Veins – They are responsible for facilitating the blood supply needed by the different parts of the knee.
The Bottom Line
We rely on our knees for most of our daily activities. Thus, it is susceptible to various sprains. Understanding the different parts of the knee will help us prevent these unwanted injuries.
I hope that this article on different parts of the knee was helpful. If you are interested, visit the health facts page!