Knee Anatomy

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

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With knee anatomy, there is so much going on. When things go wrong in the knee, it can cause a lot of knee pain. In this video, I will go over some of the main muscles, tendons, and ligaments for a brief overview of the anatomy of the knee.

The two main bones of the knee are the tibia and femur bones. They come together to make the knee joint. The quadricep muscles are on top over the femur, and the quad tendon comes down over the joint and helps hold the patella (kneecap) in place. This is important because when the patella isn’t tracking like it is suppose to, it can cause a lot of pain, and sometimes people even feel a popping or grinding in their knee. This is often the result of a weak VMO (inner quad muscle), and/or a tight IT band.

If you flip the knee model over, you can see where your menisci are located. You have your medial and lateral meniscus. I like to call them the suction cups of the knee. When they get torn, the knee can become unstable and painful. Many times people will describe it like their knee is trying to give out on them.

On the inside of the knee you have your cruciate ligaments. These are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL and PCL). You hear about these often with football and soccer players tearing their ACL. The ACL is more common of a tear, but you can tear both. These ligaments prevent the knee from sliding forward and backward, and your knee will become very unstable if they are torn.

You also have the fibula bone, which is the smaller bone next to the tibia, and it has some important attachments and rolls of the knee as well. The femur does a rolling motion on the tibia when the knee is bent, and when that is not a smooth movement, it can be painful.

The calf muscles (gastrocnemius/gastroc) and the hamstring muscles each cross over the knee joint. So when they are tight, they put a lot of pressure on the knee joint, and can cause a lot of pain through out the knee. Stretching these muscles are very important to help keep the joint moving smoothly and painlessly.

The quad muscle and tendon are also very important to stretch because when they are tight, they put extra pressure on the patella, and basically push it into the groove of the femur, which can cause pain and degeneration.

There is so much more going on in the knee, but those are some of the main things you are going to hear about or reasons why you might be having pain. Make sure you check out the stretching videos for all those muscles!

Mentioned Videos:

Patellofemoral Syndrome Exercises & Stretches

Meniscus Tear Stretches & Exercises

Knee Pain Stretches & Exercises, Real-Time Routine


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