For Physical Therapy In Spokane Valley Call Now! 509.892.5442

Call Now! 509.892.5442

Knee Pain: Intro to the Anatomy & Causes of Knee Pain

December 22, 2017

When it comes to the knee, there are quite a few structures that can be involved and that can potentially be contributing to your pain, soreness and stiffness.

This includes the joints, ligaments, muscles and a few other structures, which I’ll list below and cover in detail in the video.

Here’s the bottom line: you’ll want to be familiar with these structures when you’re trying to eliminate your knee pain.

That’s because the first step towards achieving lasting pain relief is to figure out the ROOT CAUSE of your knee pain.

After you do that, you can then shift your focus towards choosing successful treatment options (which I cover in other blogs/videos)

As a PT, I can rule out involvement of most structures within several minutes, but it’s a bit tricky on your own.

Most Common Causes of Knee Pain

Here’s a detailed description of the various structures that can cause knee pain (and the video has more detailed information):

  • The Joints: although most people think of the knee as one joint, it’s actually made up of 3 joints. The primary joint is where the femur (your thigh bone), meets your tibia (your shin bone). This is where you get the ability to bend and straighten your knee. We tend to look at this joint as being split into 2 compartments, one on the inside, and one on the outside. You also have your “patello-femoral joint”, which refers to your kneecap as it glides up and down the groove in your femur (thigh bone). The 3rd joint is where the smaller bone in your leg (fibula) rests against the side of the tibia.
  • The Ligaments: your knee has 4 primary ligaments, which include your MCL, LCL, ACL and PCL. You probably don’t need to know the specific names of each, but feel free to Google them in you’re curious! The MCL and LCL ligaments provide support to the inside and outside of the knee and are located on the outsides of the joint, while your ACL and PCL are located inside the joint and provide support to twisting motions, as well as motions that involve your tibia sliding forward and back in relation to the femur.
  • The Muscles: the largest muscle in your body is the “quadriceps” muscle (aka “quads”), which as the name implies, is actually a group of 4 muscles. This large muscle group runs along the front of your thigh down towards your kneecap (patella). It then engulfs the kneecap and attaches to the front of your shin bone via the patellar tendon. Other important muscles that cross the knee joint include the hamstrings and gastrocnemius (aka the “gastric” or calf muscle).
  • Other Structures: inside your knee, you also have 2 menisci, one meniscus for the inside compartment and one for the outside. You can think of these as soft tissue rings that go around the outside of each circular compartment and offer extra stability. The ends of each bone in the knee are covered in cartilage, which will lead us to a more detailed discussion or arthritis at a later date. Another key structure to be aware of is the “IT Band” (iliotibial band).

Now that you know how many structures can be involved with knee pain, you might be looking for some help figuring things out…

If this sounds like you, and you’d like some help figuring out the ROOT CAUSE of you knee pain, please give us a call at the clinic at (509) 892-5442 to request a FREE Telephone Consultation or in-person “Discovery Visit” with one of our PTs.

Or, you can fill out one of the forms on our website! Stay healthy!

– Luke Gordon, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Owner of Gordon Physical Therapy

Here’s the video. Enjoy 🙂

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(509) 892-5442

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