A Healthy Knee
The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body. It is a hinge like joint consisting of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap). All of the parts that make up the knee joint are supported by cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the femur and the tibia and is lubricated by synovial fluid. Ligaments and muscles provide the side- to-side stability.
The Arthritic Knee
In an arthritic knee, the cartilage cushion wears out and the surface of the bones become rough and irregular. Arthritis is the most common cause of knee joint deterioration. Arthritis is any degenerative condition of the joint cartilage resulting in pain and inflammation, causing reduced motion and difficulty with walking.