Knee Anatomy

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints of the body. Joints are essentially the ends of two bones, acting as hinges that enable the body to move. The knee joint in particular is composed of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). The patella (knee cap) articulates with the femur, at the front of the knee. These bones are lubricated by articular cartilage, supplied by synovial fluid. The synovial fluid is housed in a surrounding thin capsule known as the synovial lining.

As you can see in the above picture, the bones of the knee are supported by muscles, menisci (tissue), ligaments and tendons. These supporting structures can be compartmentalised into:

  • The medial compartment (inside section of the knee)
  • The lateral compartments (outside sections of the knee)
  • The patellofemoral joint (area underneath the knee cap).


Common Knee Pathologies and Problems

Throughout our lifetime, we continually place stress on our knee and its supporting structures. Combined with normal age-related degeneration, this makes our knees especially vulnerable to problems which require the attention of an orthopaedic surgeon.


Ligaments, for instance, can be torn as a result of sports injuries or accidents. The menisci can be torn as a result of an injury, although most meniscal tears are the result of a degenerative process. Over time, the articular cartilage can also wear away. This pathological process is commonly referred to as osteoarthritis. The patellofemoral joint can become vulnerable to instability. Tendons may also tear after injuries or accidents; however tendinopathy is a more common complaint.


The Good News

Although our knees can become especially vulnerable to the aforementioned pathologies, there are a multitude of treatment options available for individuals. Many of these options do not necessarily require surgery. Your surgeon will discuss your options depending on the nature and history of your presenting problem, as well as your individual circumstances.


Since our inception in 2002, SORI has been committed to orthopaedic knee research that informs best practice, improves patient outcomes and enhances clinical treatment for all patients. As such, we endeavour to collect clinical data on a wide range of pathologies and individuals. This ensures we continually uphold our research mission and improve your quality of life. After a consultation, your surgeon may invite you to participate in research with us.


References (2019). Sydney Intensive Knee Clinic | About Knee Osteoarthritis (OA). [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Aug. 2019]. (2019). Common Knee Injuries - OrthoInfo - AAOS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Aug. 2019].