Knees

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is responsible for handling relatively huge multi-directional forces up and down the leg. To fulfil its role, the joint has a lot of freedom of movement with stability provided by the soft tissues rather than more restrictive bony socket type joints. The knee is carefully geometrically positioned between the hips above and ankles below.

Special fluid lubricates very smooth cartilage surfaces, making them as slippery as ice. Ligaments wrap around the bones of the knee and provide important mechanoreceptor information that helps to coordinate muscle action and stability. This results in an energy efficient walking pattern or gait. When healthy, you don't give it a moments thought. However, if affected by trauma or disease it can result in a surprising amount of pain and disability. The comparative anatomy of the knee in bipeds and quadrupeds reveals fascinating insights into embryology and evolution.


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