What It Is
The knee joint is the largest joint in your body and is where three main bones come together: the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone) and patella (kneecap). This joint is stabilized by four main ligaments: ACL and PCL in the middle and the MCL and LCL on the sides.
What It Does
Your knee joint is one of the main players in your body. It helps you walk, run, bend, jump—if your leg is active the knee is involved.
Most knee injuries involve a tear in the cartilage (meniscus) or a ligament, and overuse conditions, such as arthritis. As we age, our cartilage gets worn out and loses the ability to hold as much water. The water in our cartilage works as a shock absorber. As a result, the cartilage progressively becomes more and more damaged.
Sports are a frequent cause of injury, especially for those who take up an activity later in life and aren’t prepared. In other words, make sure you are in shape before signing up for that marathon.
More severe injuries may require steroid injections or surgery.
For minor injuries, remember RICE—rest, ice, compression and elevation. This works for flare-ups of arthritis, sprains, and strains. More severe injuries may require steroid injections or surgery. In a severe injury, a knee may become locked, where you can no longer flex or extend it. It may experience giving way episodes where the knee buckles with no warning. Another common experience is periodic swelling after activity or repetitive bending or kneeling. If these symptoms persist surgery is very effective in getting you back in action.