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We all know what our knees are and what they’re needed for. But many aspects are unknown like what tendons are in the knee.
Many people go about life with knee pain or injury without quite knowing what knee anatomy is hurting or damaged.
Ignoring your own body is never good – it will prevent healing and slow down the diagnostic process. Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t bliss in this case!
It’s far better to have ‘clued up’ knowledge up your sleeve than to ignore knee pain.
In this post, I explain knee anatomy in great detail.
So if there are concerns about a knee injury, they can be addressed through knowledge and wisdom, and of course, the appropriate treatment or therapy can be prescribed.
Inside of the knee
The knee joint is prone to injury due to its essential role in connecting the upper and lower bones of the leg.
It makes up a large portion of common sports injuries. Knee ligament injuries are widely seen – not only in sports-related incidents but in daily activities too.
Usually, an injured knee occurs from a sudden twisting motion, and the injury is felt immediately.
We may have all experienced a wrenched knee by skipping a step or two when rushing about. Yet some knee injuries are far more serious – and more painful.
The knee makes up the largest joint in the body (the knee is called a hinge joint) and is responsible for the stability and movement of the legs.
It connects the ends of the bones of the Femur (thigh bone) and the Tibia and Fibula (shin bones).
Additionally, the knee contains ligaments, cartilage, tendons, a blood supply system, and muscles found in the upper and lower limbs.
The major ligaments in the knee are as follows:
- The anterior cruciate ligament (this is the most commonly injured ligament from sports types of injuries)
- The posterior cruciate ligament
- The lateral collateral ligament
- The medial collateral ligament
What tendons are in the knee?
Tendons are responsible for attaching muscles to bones. Tendons are located more superficially in the knee joint and connect thigh and lower limb muscles to the corresponding bones, whereby ligaments sit deeper inside the knee.
The tendons of the knee joint include:
- The patellar tendon – connects the knee cap (Patellar bone) to the Tibia (shin bone)
- The quadriceps tendon – connects the quadriceps muscle (thigh muscle) to the Patella
- Hamstring tendons – attaches Hamstring muscles to the knee joint via the pelvis and lower leg bones
Stability of the knee
In a healthy knee, all the anatomy described above works harmoniously to allow the legs to move fluidly.
As a result, the knee bends easily and without pain or friction. Knee function is normal, and sports activities are enjoyed without concern.
Things like running, walking, swimming, and cycling are all regular activities we perhaps take for granted.
That is – until we lose patellofemoral joint function due to an injury or accident outside of our control.
Being unable to weight – bare or carry on with activities we so enjoy can be extremely hard to come to terms with and tough on your well-being.
The good news is that many common knee injuries recover fully when given time and proper medical attention. This is always the aim of any treatment plan – to return the injured knee to its function pre-injury.
- Knee osteoarthritis is usually seen in older patients or sports people where overuse of the knee joint occurs. This causes severe pain if left untreated and requires a medical diagnosis.
- Ligament tears – again, very common in sports-related injuries or when a direct force hits the knee (say from a car accident). These injuries can happen to both types of knee ligaments, including both the cruciate ligaments and collateral ligaments.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – this is an auto-immune illness that attacks the cartilage in the body. It sometimes affects knees and treatment aims to relieve the symptoms.
- Tendon injuries – May occur in the knee joint. Feelings of pain or swelling and/or redness are common signs of tendon strain.
This is not an exhaustive list of knee problems by any stretch, but it gives a general overview.
Importance of Knee Health
It’s important to remember that our knees take on a lot – so care for them we must. Think! How much do you use your knees? Are you walking a lot for work? Or running on the road as part of your daily fitness routine?
Rest is the most critical thing we can do to help our knees, particularly if we’re on our feet all day or doing heavy-impact exercises regularly.
Physical therapy is a valuable tool for treating specific knee injuries, and medical attention is always advised to diagnose the type of knee injury in any case.
The knee is a complex joint and needs care and attention to remain fully functional.
I hope you found this a helpful post and that it answers some of your questions regarding the knee.