How Your Knees Work and Why They Might Hurt

Your knees play a vital role in taking you places. Whether you're walking, biking, climbing, or simply standing, your knees help propel and support you along the way. They are considered one of the most active joints in your body because they are under a tremendous amount of pressure.

In order to function properly, your knees need both stability and flexibility. Unlike a hinge, which only swings back and forth, the knee joint rotates as you step. Your knee joint is comprised of the thigh bone or femur, the shin bone or tibia, and kneecap or patella. The thigh bone and shin bone come together to form a hinge joint, with the kneecap in front of them providing protection.

Your knee also consists of a specialized type of tissue known as cartilage. Articulating cartilage is a thin layer of cartilage that covers the contact surface of your bones, while the menisci is the thicker, shock absorbing layer that fills the space between the bones.

In addition to providing your knees with cushion and protection, cartilage helps them move smoothly during their range of motion. Strong bands of tissue known as ligaments are responsible for holding your knee together and providing it with stability.

Healthy knees have a wide range of motion and can support you in a variety of activities. However, over time, diseases such as osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage of the knee to wear down, resulting in a reduction in the range of motion and painful bone on bone contact. Osteoarthritis can lead to pain, stiffness, and instability that make it difficult for you to complete everyday activities and live the fulfilling lifestyle you deserve.

Fortunately, diseases like osteoarthritis and other knee ailments can be managed through diet, exercise, physical therapy, medication, and walking aids. If these treatments do not improve your condition and hinder your overall quality of life, your doctor may recommend a surgical solution such as arthroscopy, partial knee replacement, or total knee replacement.

In the event that knee replacement is recommended, modern techniques and technologies such as the NAVIO Robotics-assisted Surgical System deliver the potential to last longer, function better, and heal faster than ever before.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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