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Anatomy of a Knee: Complete Guide

Do you want to gain knowledge about the anatomy of the knee, its possible conditions, tests, and treatments? Here is all you need to know.

Introduction to the Anatomy of the Knee

The human knee is a joint of the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone). It is one of the largest joints in the human anatomy.

More so, the knee joint is a complex one. Other bones that form the knee joint are smaller bones along its fibula (tibia) and the patella (known as the kneecap).

The Knee Anatomy

There are tendons in the knee that link the knee bones to the muscles which aid the movement of the knee joint. There are ligaments in the knee that join the bones together as they make the knee stable. They include;

  • The fore cruciate ligament does not allow the femur to move back. 
  • The hind cruciate ligament does not allow the femur to move forward. 
  • The lateral and media collateral ligaments do not allow the femur to move to any of its sides. 

There is a shock absorber between the tibia and femur. Also, the knee has a fluid-sac which helps the knee to move smoothly. 

anatomy of a knee

The Knee Condition

There are different conditions people suffer at different parts of the knee. Notable conditions include; 

Chondromalacia patella: This condition is also known as patellofemoral syndrome. The patellofemoral syndrome arises from irritation of the cartilage. This irritation is often experienced below the kneecap as it results in knee pain. It is a common condition in adults and sometimes, children. 

Knee Effusion: Knee Effusion is the buildup of fluid in the knee joint. Most times, the fluid buildup is due to inflammation. In addition, different states and stages of injury, arthritis, or accident can further lead to this condition. 

Knee osteoarthritis: This knee condition is the commonest type of arthritis that affects the knee. Majorly, it is caused by old age because the cartilage wears and tears. The symptoms of osteoarthritis are as follows;

    • Stiffness 
    • Knee pain 
    • Swelling 

    Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear or strain: The ACL is a major structure of the knee that helps it to be stable. However, due to physical activities which may be strenuous, there could be a tear in the ACL. This makes the knee give up except there is a surgical operation. 

    Meniscal tear: There is cartilage at the knee which provides support and cushioning. It can do this by creating a meniscus. However, damage to the cartilage can result in a possible twist. 

    Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) tear or strain: A tear in the PCL can result in swelling, pain, and knee instability. It is not as common as ACL strain or a tear. More so, it does not require a surgical operation but physical therapy. 

      Other common conditions are; 

      1. Patellar subluxation 
      2. Knee bursitis 
      3. Patellar tendonitis 
      4. Rheumatoid arthritis 
      5. Baker’s cyst 
      6. Pseudogout 
      7. Gout 
      8. Septic arthritis 
      human knee

      The Knee Tests

      There are different knee tests that can be carried to make the knee function effectively. The major conditions are; 

      Physical Examination: Physical examination is an important way to test the state of the knee. In physical examination, the doctor pays attention to where the knee pain occurs. Abnormal movement or swelling are major signs. The doctor can predict possible causes and solutions to the knee. 

      Drawer test: there are two types of drawer test a doctor can carry out on the knee. They include the anterior drawer test and posterior drawer test. The purpose of the test is to know the stability of the PCL or ACL. 

      Knee X-ray: X-ray is a major way to know the exact condition of the knee. 

      Arthroscopy: This knee test uses an endoscope to examine the knee. 

        Other knee tests include;

        • Valgus stress test
        • Magnetic resonance imaging 
        • Joint aspiration or arthrocentesis of the knee 

        Knee Treatments

        Just as there are different knee tests, there are several medical solutions for the knee joint. Notable treatments include;

        Therapy: Therapy is a common way many physiotherapists treat knee conditions. The commonest therapy is the RICE acronym. RICE implies rest, ice, compression, and elevation. it has been proven to be great therapy for several knee conditions. 

          Also, there are exercises patients can carry out to make the knee muscles stronger and more stable. 

          Use of pain medications: there are pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac which are over-the-counter prescriptions for knee pain. 

          Knee surgery: surgery is a universal solution for several knee conditions. It is an appropriate solution to repair or replace an injured ligament, remove a damaged meniscus, or completely replace a damaged knee. 

            Other knee treatments are; 

            • Cortisone injection 
            • Arthroscopic surgery 
            • Hyaluronan injection 
            • ACL repair 


            Just like other parts of the body, the knee is important. Hence, it is essential for one to know the anatomy of the knee, possible knee problems, and treatments. Never forget that health is wealth. 




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