Your knees may seem a simple part of your anatomy. But your knees are far more complex. And if you are an athlete, chances are you know this fact all too well. Your knees are amazing. They allow twisting and turning motions and allow your legs to hold up your body.
The bony structure of your knees:
Two large and one small bone meet within your knee joint.
- The bottom of your thigh bone – the femur – meets the top of your shin bone – the tibia.
- Your kneecap – the patella – is the smaller bone and it rests against a groove at the end of your femur, allowing it to be mobile.
Each bone is covered in a protective coating – the cartilage. All of the bones move around in a small area, with the cartilage cushioning them and allowing them to glide easily.
Between your femur and tibia are disks of tissue – the menisci – which help absorb the pounding your knees take when you run and walk.
Osteoarthritis and Meniscal Tears are two problems that can affect these tissues.
- Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to become thin and rough. That leaves the bones with less protection and vulnerable to damage…and when you walk, it hurts!
- If you turn your knee the wrong way while your weight is on it, you can tear your meniscus. This can cause mild or major pain.
The softer structures of your knee:
Attached around your knee are a tendon and four ligaments. The tendon attaches your quadricep muscles to your kneecap; the ligaments attach the femur and tibia to each other.
Problems that can affect the tendon and ligaments are:
- Tendon pain – A tendon can become inflamed by repeated leg motion or it can be torn while participating in sports.
- Iliotibial band syndrome – The iliotibial band runs down the side of your thigh and attaches to your knee. As it slides over the outside of your knee, your knee can become irritated and painful.
- Ligament pain – Trauma to your knee or shifting directions during contact sports can result in a torn ligament. Depending on the ligament, your may have pain and instability in your knee.
Regardless of the type of knee pain you are experiencing, you should see a doctor to ensure that you get the correct diagnosis and treatment to prevent further damage to your knee.
If you are experiencing keep pain, call for a consultation appointment, today: St. John (219) 365-0220; Crown Point (219) 661-8661; Lowell (219) 696-6353.