Your knees are far more complex than they seem. They are also amazing. They allow turning and twisting motions and allow your legs to hold up your body. If you are an athlete, chances are you know these facts all too well. Continue reading to learn some interesting facts about your knees.
The basic “hard” structure:
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 called 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.
Meniscal Tears and Osteoarthritis and are two problems that can affect these tissues.
- 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.
- 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!
The “softer” structure:
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.
- A tendon can become inflamed by repeated leg motion or it can be torn while participating in sports, resulting in tendon pain.
- 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.
- 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.
With 2016 upon us, now is the time to resolve to train carefully and safely to protect your body’s structure! Click here for more information about training.