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Knee joint

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Name the two articulations that comprise the knee joint.
  2. Memorize the articulating bones and their respective articulating surfaces.
  3. List the ligaments and menisci that stabilize the knee joint.

Watch video

The knee joint is a complex synovial joint that connects three bones (the femur, tibia and patella) which together form a pair of articulations:

  1. Tibiofemoral joint, formed between the tibia and the femur.
  2. Patellofemoral joint, formed between the patella and the femur.

The knee joint is the largest joint of the body, responsible for bearing a considerable amount of biomechanical stress every time we stand or walk. Its integrity is supported by many extracapsular and intracapsular ligaments, menisci, as well as surrounding muscles that provide the knee joint with the stability needed to bear the weight of the whole body.

To learn about the articulating surfaces, ligaments, muscles and functions of the knee joint, watch the video below.

Take a quiz

After watching the video, you should be able to answer a lot of questions about the knee. Put that knowledge to the test with this quiz!

To really challenge yourself customize your own quiz and pick more than one topic to be questioned about.

Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the bones and ligaments of the knee joint in the gallery below.

Now let's explore the knee joint from a sagittal view. 


Key points about the knee joint
Type Tibiofemoral joint: Synovial hinge joint
Patellofemoral joint
: Plane joint
Articular surfaces Tibiofemoral joint: Lateral and medial condyles of femur, tibial plateau
Patellofemoral joint
: Patellar surface of femur, articular surface of patella
Ligaments and menisci Extracapsular ligaments: Patellar ligament, medial and lateral patellar retinacula, tibial (medial) collateral ligament, medial meniscofemoral ligament, medial meniscotibial ligament, fibular (lateral) collateral ligament, oblique popliteal ligament, arcuate popliteal ligament, anterolateral ligament
Intracapsular ligaments/menisci
: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial meniscus, lateral meniscus, transverse ligament of the knee, anterior meniscotibial ligament, posterior meniscofemoral ligament
Movements Extension, flexion, internal/medial rotation, external/lateral rotation

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