Introduction

Plymouth Orthopaedic and Sports Injury Clinic

In a bipedal animal such as humans, the knee joint plays a critical role in standing and locomotion. Not only does it bear significant loads, it is also responsible for transmitting large forces generated in the powerful thigh muscles and moreover controlling complex locomotor movements, such as twisting and turning. On occasions during sporting activity the loads through the knee joint can exceed ten times the body weight and even during an activity such as descending stairs, it has been estimated that the load in some parts of the knee exceeds eight times the body weight!

It is no great surprise that the knee is subject to wear and tear arthritis and injury, and in particular “sports injuries”. Additionally the knee joint may also be affected by soft tissue conditions such as tendonopathy and inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, gout etc).
Developmental conditions may manifest themselves in the knee and relatively rarely the knee may become infected. Occasionally it can even be affected by tumours, both benign and malignant