The knee joint

The knee joint is the largest joint of the human body. It is composed of three bones whose movements are guided exclusively by muscles, ligaments and tendons. The menisci – two half-moon-shaped discs consisting of fibrous cartilage – are located between the thigh bone and the shank bone on the inner and outer side of the knee joint. They distribute the load in the joint to a large surface and work like a buffer or shock-absorber system.

The joint cartilage has another structure and differs from the meniscus. It is an up to 5 mm thick layer covering the entire bone surface inside the joint. This highly elastic and water-containing tissue ensures a smooth, nearly frictionless motion sequence.

Injuries or damage to these cartilaginous structures are usually beyond remedy. In the medium or long term, they may lead to joint wear – better known as osteoarthritis.