The knee

The knee

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The knee forms the connection between the thigh and lower leg. The complex joint is protected from the front by the kneecap, there are stabilizing ligaments and muscles on the side, important nerve tracts, arteries (popliteal artery or knee-bend artery) and veins (knee-bend vein and popliteal vein) run in the back of the knee. Strictly speaking, the knee joint consists of several individual joints (between the thigh bone and the kneecap, between the thigh and lower leg bone, between the shin and fibula), which work together to ensure high mobility. The meniscus is a flat, crescent-shaped cartilage between the ends of the thigh and lower leg bones, with two menisci per knee (medial meniscus or inner meniscus and lateral meniscus or outer meniscus). These are exposed to considerable stress in everyday life and are accordingly frequently affected by damage.

Discomfort in the knee can be attributed to various causes, with a distinction to be made between damage due to the application of force, such as a cruciate ligament rupture or meniscal rupture, and impairments caused by long-term wear and tear and inflammatory diseases. Pain in the knee or knee joint is a general symptom that requires closer examination. If an acute injury is excluded, the first thing to do is to find out whether there is an infection that causes inflammation in the joint and corresponding pain, or whether permanent signs of wear and tear in the form of osteoarthritis are the trigger for the symptoms. While the former can generally be treated relatively well by medication, the initial condition of the joint cannot be restored in the case of arthrosis through therapeutic measures. The only way to prevent the signs of wear from progressing here.

To date, minimally invasive knee surgery in the form of arthroscopy has been hailed as a treatment option for chronic knee pain due to joint wear, but current studies conclude that knee surgery has no additional benefit compared to non-invasive treatment methods. The renowned specialist magazine "British Medical Journal" (BMJ) had recently called for a move away from arthroscopy. This harbors considerable risks without achieving any additional benefit. Conventional therapeutic measures, such as physiotherapy, should be preferred here. Because obesity is considered a risk factor for increased wear in the knee joint, the aim is to normalize body weight as part of the therapy. In addition, certain sports can be accompanied by considerable strain on the knee, which is why you should switch to "gentler" activities if necessary. Swimming or water aerobics, for example, are particularly gentle on the joints. (fp)


Author and source information

Video: Wellington Knee Unit: How the knee joint works (May 2022).