Dr Vikesh P. Gajjar Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dr Vikesh Gajjar knee surgeonDr Vikesh Gajjar knee surgeon

The knee joint is one of the most important joints in the human body. It supports your entire body weight. When you run or jump, the force of impact on your knees is many times your body weight. As a result your knees are prone to wear and tear. To assist in understanding this section please make use of the knee anatomy definitions.

Select the tabs to navigate through the Information in this section:

Inside Your Knee Joint Outside Your Knee Joint Movements Of The Knee Joint Problems Of The Knee Joint

INSIDE YOUR KNEE JOINT

Your knee consists of:
1. Bones

FEMUR (thigh bone)

TIBIA (shin bone)

PATELLA (knee cap)

2. Cartilage

This is found on the lower end of the femur, the upper end of the tibia and on the undersurface of the patella. Cartilage protects the bones and enables the joint surfaces to slide smoothly over each other.

3. Menisci

The medial and lateral menisci are specialized cartilage cushions that are found between the femur and tibia. They improve the way the femur and tibia articulate and they act as shock absorbers in your knee.

4. Cruciate Ligaments

The ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (ACL) and POSTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (PCL) control the movement of the tibia in relation to the femur in a forward and backward direction.

More about CRUCIATE LIGAMENTS

LIGAMENTS are connective tissues that attach one bone to another.

The ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (ACL) is more easily damaged than the POSTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (PCL). An injury usually occurs during sport where you change direction suddenly. A torn ACL causes the knee to "give way". This ligament is unable to heal spontaneously and unless it is surgically reconstructed, your knee will feel progressively more unstable when you play sport.

The POSTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (PCL) on the other hand is the strongest ligament in your knee. A torn PCL usually does not impair your ability to play sport. If it is an isolated injury it may be left unrepaired.

5. Bursae

Bursae are pockets of synovial fluid that cushion your knee joint. Your knee joint is surrounded by a joint capsule which is lined with a synovial membrane. This synovial membrane produces synovial fluid which bathes all the structures in your knee joint and prevents friction.

OUTSIDE YOUR KNEE JOINT

1. Collateral Ligaments

The MEDIAL AND LATERAL COLLATERAL LIGAMENTS protect your knee from sideward forces.

2. Patella Tendon

The PATELLA TENDON attaches the patella to the upper end of the tibia. It is an extension of the quadriceps (thigh) muscle that covers your femur in front.

TENDONS are connective tissues that attach muscles to bones.
LIGAMENTS are connective tissue that attach one bone to another.

MOVEMENTS OF THE KNEE JOINT

Your knee is a hinge joint which allows for the following movements:
  1. FLEXION ( bending)
  2. EXTENSION ( straightening)
  3. MEDIAL AND LATERAL ROTATION ( turning in an inward and outward direction)

The movements of the knee joint are controlled by the large muscles of your thigh and lower leg. These muscles and their tendons also cover and protect your knee joint.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF KNEE PROBLEMS

1. PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
2. SWELLING

May be due to blood or an increased amount of synovial fluid in your knee joint

3. "LOCKING"

Being unable to fully straighten your knee because something feels like it is in the way

4. " GIVING WAY"

A sudden feeling that your knee is weak and unable to support your knee.

Common diseases affecting the knee:

  • DEGENERATIVE CONDITIONS:
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • INFECTIONS
  • TUMOURS
  • INVESTIGATING KNEE PROBLEMS

    A KNEE X-RAY is the first investigation that is one to assess the bones and soft tissues around your knee joint. An ULTRASOUND and a CT or MRI scan may be required for a more detailed assessment particularly when soft tissues such as menisci and ligaments are involved. A KNEE ARTHROSCOPY is also an investigation that is used to make a diagnosis. It involves inserting a camera into the knee joint to look directly at the structures within and to determine the nature and extent of a problem.