Knee

  • Anatomy
  • Conditions
  • Procedures

Knee Anatomy

The knee is a complex joint made up of different structures including bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. They all work together to maintain 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 the shinbone (tibia). There are two round knobs at the end of the femur called femoral condyles which articulate with the flat surface of the tibia called the tibial plateau. The tibia plateau on the inside of the leg is called the medial tibial plateau, and on the outside of the leg it is called 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 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 which 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, there 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 by preventing 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 function to stabilize the knee joint. There are two important groups of ligaments that hold the bones of the knee joint together, collateral ligaments and the cruciate ligament.

Collateral ligaments are present on either side of the knee. They function to 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 or ACL and the cruciate ligament in the back of the knee is called posterior cruciate ligament or PCL.

Muscles of the Knee

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

Tendons of the Knee

Tendons are structures that attach muscles to the 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.

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common condition affecting individuals from different age groups. It not only affects movement but also impacts the quality of life of the individual. 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.

Knee Arthritis

Knee Arthritis

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

Patellar Instability

Patellar Instability

Patellar (kneecap) instability results from one or more dislocations or partial dislocations (subluxations). Patella is the small piece of bone in front of the knee that slides up and down the femoral groove (groove in the femur bone) during bending and stretching movements. The ligaments on the inner and outer sides of the patella hold it in the femoral groove and avoid dislocation of the patella from the groove.

Patellofemoral Instability

Patellofemoral Instability

The knee can be divided into three compartments: patellofemoral, medial and lateral compartment. The patellofemoral compartment is the compartment in the front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone. The medial compartment is the area on the inside portion of the knee, and the lateral compartment is the area on the outside portion of the knee joint. Patellofemoral instability means that the patella (kneecap) moves out of its normal pattern of alignment.

Patellar Dislocation/Patellofemoral Dislocation

Patellar Dislocation/Patellofemoral Dislocation

Dislocation of the patella occurs when the patella moves out of the patellofemoral groove, (called as trochlea) onto a bony head of the femur. If the kneecap partially comes out of the groove, it is called as subluxation and if the kneecap completely comes out, it is called as dislocation (luxation). Patella dislocation is commonly observed in young athletes between 15 and 20 years and commonly affects women because the wider pelvis creates a lateral pull on the patella.

Patella Tendon Rupture

Patella Tendon Rupture

Patella tendon rupture is the rupture of the tendon that connects the patella (kneecap) to the top portion of the tibia (shinbone). The patellar tendon works together with the quadriceps muscle and the quadriceps tendon to allow your knee to straighten out.

Lateral Patellar Compression Syndrome

Lateral Patellar Compression Syndrome

Lateral patellar compression syndrome refers to pain under and around your kneecap. It is a common complaint among runners, jumpers, and other athletes such as skiers, cyclists and soccer players.

The patella, also called kneecap, is a small flat triangular bone located at the front of the knee joint.

Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

Quadriceps tendon is a thick tissue located at the top of the kneecap. The quadriceps tendon works together with the quadriceps muscles to allow us to straighten our leg. The quadriceps muscles are the muscles located in front of the thigh.

ACL Tears

ACL Tears

An ACL injury is a sports-related injury that occurs when the knee is forcefully twisted or hyperextended. An ACL tear usually occurs with an abrupt directional change with the foot fixed on the ground or when the deceleration force crosses the knee. Changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly, slowing down while running, landing from a jump incorrectly, and direct contact or collision, such as a football tackle can also cause injury to the ACL.

PCL Injuries

PCL Injuries

PCL injuries are very rare and are more difficult to detect than other knee ligament injuries. Cartilage injuries, bone bruises, and ligament injuries often occur in combination with PCL injuries. Injuries to the PCL can be graded as I, II or III depending on the severity of injury. In grade I, the ligament is mildly damaged and slightly stretched, but the knee joint is stable. In grade II, there is partial tear of the ligament.

MCL Tears

MCL Tears

Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury can result in a stretch, partial tear, or complete tear of the ligament. Injuries to the MCL commonly occur because of pressure or stress on the outside part of the knee. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) may be torn along with an MCL injury.

Multiligament Instability

Multiligament Instability

The knee is a complex joint of the body which is vital for movement. The four major ligaments of the knee are anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament. They play an important role in maintaining the stability of the knee. A multiligament injury is a tear in one or more ligaments of the knee, thus affecting the knee stability.

Chondral (Articular Cartilage Defects)

Chondral (Articular Cartilage Defects)

Articular or hyaline cartilage is the tissue lining the surface of the two bones in the knee joint. Cartilage helps the bones move smoothly against each other and can withstand the weight of the body during activities such as running and jumping. Articular cartilage does not have a direct blood supply to it, so has less capacity to repair itself. Once the cartilage is torn it will not heal easily and can lead to degeneration of the articular surface, leading to development of osteoarthritis.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis Dissecans

The knee, mostly the femoral condyles are most commonly affected. The two femoral condyles make up for the rounded end of femur (thighbone). Each knee has two femoral condyles, the medial femoral condyle on the inside of the knee and the lateral femoral condyle on the outside of the knee. Osteochondritis dissecans occurs within the lateral aspect of the medial femoral condyle. The condition can also occur in other joints, including your elbows, ankles, shoulders and hips.

Meniscal Tears

Meniscal Tears

Meniscus tear is the most common knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. A sudden bend or twist in your knee causes the meniscus to tear. This is a traumatic meniscus tear. Elderly people are more prone to degenerative meniscal tears as the cartilage wears out and weakens with age. The two wedge-shaped cartilage pieces present between the thighbone and the shinbone are called meniscus. They stabilize the knee joint and act as “shock absorbers”.

Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure performed using an arthroscope, a viewing instrument, to diagnose or treat a knee problem. It is a relatively safe procedure and most of the patients are discharged from the hospital on the same day of surgery.

The knee joint is vulnerable to a variety of injuries.

Meniscal Surgery

Meniscal Surgery

A meniscus tear is the most common knee injury in athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. A sudden bend or twist in your knee can cause the meniscus to tear. This is a traumatic meniscal tear. Elderly people are more prone to degenerative meniscal tears as the cartilage wears out and weakens with age.

Patellar Tendon Repair

Patellar Tendon Repair

Patella tendon rupture is the rupture of the tendon that connects the patella (knee cap) to the top portion of the tibia (shin bone). The patellar tendon works together with the quadriceps muscle and the quadriceps tendon to allow your knee to straighten out.

Arthroscopic Reconstruction of the Knee for Ligament Injuries

Arthroscopic Reconstruction of the Knee for Ligament Injuries

Knee ligament injuries are common in athletes involved in contact sports such as soccer, football and basketball. Knee ligament injuries are graded based on the severity of injury.

In grade I, the ligament is mildly damaged and slightly stretched, but the knee joint is stable.

ACL Reconstruction

ACL Reconstruction

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope- like structure located in the center of the knee running from the femur to the tibia. When this ligament tears unfortunately, it does not heal and often leads to the feeling of instability in the knee.

An ACL injury most commonly occurs during sports that involve twisting or overextending your knee.

ACL Reconstruction Procedure – Hamstring Tendon

ACL Reconstruction Procedure – Hamstring Tendon

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope- like structure located in the center of the knee running from the femur to the tibia. When this ligament tears unfortunately, it does not heal and often leads to the feeling of instability in the knee.

An ACL injury most commonly occurs during sports that involve twisting or overextending your knee.

ACL Reconstruction Patellar Tendon

ACL Reconstruction Patellar Tendon

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction patellar tendon is a surgical procedure that replaces the injured ACL with a patellar tendon. Anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four major ligaments of the knee that connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone) and helps stabilize the knee joint. Anterior cruciate ligament prevents excessive forward movement of the lower leg bone (tibia) in relation to the thighbone (femur) as well as limits rotational movements of the knee.

Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

Medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction is a surgical procedure indicated in patients with more severe patellar instability. Medial patellofemoral ligament is a band of tissue that extends from the femoral medial epicondyle to the superior aspect of the patella. Medial patellofemoral ligament is the major ligament which stabilizes the patella and helps in preventing patellar subluxation (partial dislocation) or dislocation. This ligament can rupture or get damaged when there is patellar lateral dislocation.

Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement

Minimally Invasive Knee 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. This minimally invasive approach involves much smaller incisions than the usual 10-12 inch incisions used in the traditional knee replacement and spares the quadriceps muscle and tendon, which control bending of the knee, from being cut to access the knee joint.

Computer Navigation for Total Knee Replacement

Computer Navigation for Total Knee Replacement

A total knee replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged surfaces of the articulating bones with artificial implants. Most of these implants wear with use. Thus, the risk of need for revision surgery is high in young and active people if the implant must last the lifetime of the patient. The life of the implant can be extended by precise alignment of the implant and this can be achieved using computer navigation for total knee replacement surgery.

Revision Knee Replacement

Revision Knee Replacement

Revision knee replacement surgery involves replacing 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.

The knee joints are lined by soft articular cartilage that cushion the joints and aid in smooth movement of the joint bones.

Partial Knee Replacement

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.

Custom-fitted Total Knee Arthroplasty

Custom-fitted Total Knee Arthroplasty

Custom- fitted total knee arthroplasty 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. The difference with custom knee replacement from other knee replacement surgeries is the use of an MRI scan prior to the surgery that provides a clear view of the shape and structure of the different components of the joint.

Knee Ligament Reconstruction

Knee Ligament Reconstruction

The surgical repair of the completely torn ligament involves reconstruction of the torn ligament using a tissue graft taken from another part of the body or from a donor. The damaged ligament is replaced by the graft and fixed to the femur and tibia using metallic screws. Gradually, over a period of a few months, the graft heals.

Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage Replacement

Cartilage replacement is a surgical procedure performed to replace the worn-out cartilage with new cartilage. It is usually performed to treat patients with small areas of cartilage damage usually caused by sports or traumatic injuries. It is not indicated for those patients who have advanced arthritis of the knee. Articular or hyaline cartilage is the tissue that covers bone surface of the knee which helps in smooth interaction between the two bones in the knee joint.

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation

Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation

Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) is a procedure to treat the articular cartilage defects of the knee. This procedure is effective for treating small areas of cartilage damage that causes pain and swelling and restricts the range of motion. Autologous chondrocyte implantation is not indicated for those patients who have advanced arthritis of the knee.

OATS

OATS

OATS is “osteochondral autograft transfer system”. It is one of the two types of cartilage transfer procedures and the other procedure is “Mosaicplasty”. Cartilage transfer procedures involve moving healthy cartilage from a non-weight-bearing area of the knee to a damaged area of the cartilage in the knee. In mosaicplasty, plugs of cartilage and bone are taken from a healthy cartilage area and moved to replace the damaged cartilage of the knee.

Revision Ligament Reconstruction

Revision Ligament Reconstruction

Coming soon

Meniscus Replacement

Meniscus Replacement

Coming soon