Q:

How does the knee joint work?

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Quick Answer

The knee joint connects the shin bone to the thigh bone, according to WebMD. Ligaments connected to the bones in the knee provide stability and prevent the shin bone and thigh bone from sliding. Tendons connect the muscles that help the knee joint move. Cartilage in the knee absorbs shock between the knee bone and shin bone, and sacs filled with fluid help the knee move easily.

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The knee is the human body's largest joint, notes Wikipedia. It is a mobile joint, permitting flexing and extension as well as slight rotation. The knee joint is susceptible to osteoarthritis.

According to WebMD, other medical conditions that can affect the knee include damage or irritation to cartilage, fluid buildup, dislocation of the kneecap, inflammation of the tendon that connects the shin bone to the knee, cysts, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis from bacterial infections and gout. A tear to the anterior cruciate ligament, which keeps the knee stable, often requires surgery. Straining the posterior cruciate ligament is less common than ACL tears and is usually treated with physical therapy.

Knee replacement surgery is sometimes performed in cases of extreme pain and disability, notes WebMD. Knees can be partially or completely replaced. Damaged surfaces of joints are replaced with plastic and metal components that allow continued knee movement.

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