Knees

Knee Anatomy & Function :: Knee Conditions :: Knee Injuries
Knee Arthritis :: Knee Procedures

Knee Anatomy & Function

Knee AnatomyThe knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. It is made up of the lower end of the thighbone (femur), which rotates on the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur. The knee also contains large ligaments, which help control motion by connecting bones and by bracing the joint against abnormal types of motion. Another important structure, the meniscus, is a wedge of soft cartilage between the femur and tibia that serves to cushion the knee and helps it absorb shock during motion.

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Knee Conditions

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Knee Injuries

In 2003, patients made approximately 19.4 million visits to physicians’ offices because of knee problems. It was the most common reason for visiting an orthopaedic surgeon.

The knee is a complex joint with many components, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. Many knee injuries can be successfully treated without surgery, while others require surgery to correct. Here are some facts about the knee from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Knee Arthritis

There are three basic types of arthritis that may affect the knee joint.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of knee arthritis. OA is usually a slowly progressive degenerative disease in which the joint cartilage gradually wears away. It most often affects middle-aged and older people.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis that can destroy the joint cartilage. RA can occur at any age. RA generally affects both knees.

Post-traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the knee. This type of arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis and may develop years after a fracture, ligament injury, or meniscus tear.

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Knee Procedures