Bones and Cartilage
The knee joint is the junction of three bones: the femur (thigh bone or upper leg bone), the tibia (shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg), and the patella (kneecap). The patella is 2 to 3 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches long. It sits over the other bones at the front of the knee joint and slides when the knee moves. It protects the knee and gives leverage to muscles.
Separating the bones of the knee are pads of connective tissue called menisci (men-NISS-sky). The menisci are two crescent-shaped discs, each called a meniscus (men-NISS-kus), positioned between the tibia and femur on the outer and inner sides of each knee. The two menisci in each knee act as shock absorbers, cushioning the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body as well as enhancing stability.
Source: NIAMS (NIH)1
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- Source: NIAMS (NIH): niams.nih.gov/ Health_Info/ Knee_Problems/ default.asp
- Source: CDC: cdc.gov/ DHDSP/ data_statistics/ fact_sheets/ fs_PAD.htm
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