Your knees are among the largest joints in your body and are under intense weight-bearing strain and used daily–no wonder they hurt sometimes.
The knee joint joins your thigh bone (femur) and your shin bone (tibia). The fibula bone runs alongside the tibia and, along with the kneecap (patella), make up the rest of the bones in the knee. Two c-shaped pieces of cartilage, the medial and lateral menisci, act as shock absorbers between femur and tibia.
The knee joint is the most complex in the body. It’s a “condylar” joint, meaning it has two protrusions on the femur (called condyles) and the the tibia has two grooves which enable them to roll and slide against each others. Because of it’s unique structure, it’s also a hinge joint.
Ligaments within the knee (cruciate ligaments) and on the inner and outer sides of the knee (collateral ligaments) stabilize the joint and are also subject to stress and strain.
Muscles that affect the knee’s movement run along the thigh and calf. They are attached to the femur, tibia, and fibula bones by ligaments. These muscles work in groups to flex, extend and stabilize the knee joint. These motions help you walk, run, kick and jump.
The most commonly found knee pain is arthritis, which can be found in all ages. (WebMD, 2014)
The hamstrings and quadriceps assist in the flexion and extension of the knee along with the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), popliteus and the articularis genus muscles. The tensor fasciae latae contracts the iliotibial (IT) band of fibrous connective tissue that helps to stabilize the femur, tibia, and thigh muscles. Flexion of the knee requires some slight rotation of the tibia, which is provided by the contraction of the popliteus muscle.
Causes of knee pain include injury, degeneration, arthritis (common), and bursitis. Generally, both passive stretching and massage are effective tools for anyone having knee pain. Massage therapists use circular friction and trigger point therapy, along with proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching and othe to restore range of motion in the knees and increase joint flexibility.