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  • To identify on a human skeleton selected bony features of the knee

  • To appreciate and explain the role of the cartilaginous and ligamentous structures of the knee joint in providing stability

  • To draw and label on a skeletal chart muscles and ligaments of the knee joint

  • To palpate the superficial knee joint structures and muscles on a human subject

  • To demonstrate and palpate with a fellow student all the movements of the knee joint and list their respective planes of motion and axes of rotation

  • To name and explain the actions and importance of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles

  • To list and organize the muscles that produce the movements of the knee joint and list their antagonists

  • To learn and understand the innervation of the knee joint muscles

  • To determine, through analysis, the knee movements and muscles involved in selected skills and exercises

The knee joint is the largest diarthrodial joint in the body and is very complex. It is primarily a hinge joint. The combined functions of weight bearing and locomotion place considerable stress, strain, compression, and torsion on the knee joint. Powerful knee joint extensor and flexor muscles, combined with a strong ligamentous structure, provide a strong functioning joint in most instances.

BONES FIGS. 9.1, 8.1, AND 8.3

FIG. 9.1

Bones of the right knee—femur, patella, tibia, and fibula. A, Anterior view; B, Posterior view.

The enlarged femoral condyles articulate on the enlarged condyles of the tibia, somewhat in a horizontal line. Because the femur projects downward at an oblique angle toward the midline, its medial condyle is slightly larger than the lateral condyle. There is a concavity between the anterior surface of the two femoral condyles in which the patella sits. This is known as the trochlea groove.

The top of the medial and lateral tibial condyles, known as the medial and lateral tibial plateaus, serve as receptacles for the femoral condyles. The tibia is the medial bone in the leg and bears much more of the body’s weight than the fibula. The fibula serves as the attachment for some very important knee joint structures, although it does not articulate with the femur or patella and is not part of knee joint articulation.

The patella is a sesamoid (floating) bone contained within the quadriceps muscle group and the patellar tendon. Its location allows it to serve the quadriceps in a fashion similar to the work of a pulley by creating an improved angle of pull. This results in a greater mechanical advantage when performing knee extension.

Key bony landmarks of the knee include the superior and inferior poles of the patella, the tibial tuberosity, Gerdy’s tubercle, the medial and lateral femoral condyles, the upper anterior medial surface of the tibia, and the ...

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