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Knee bones from front (bent knee)

From the front of the knee, the white shiny joint cartilage is exposed as the knee is bent. The two rounded ends of the femur bone are called the 'condyles' or 'femoral condyles'. The notch between the condyles is called the 'notch' or 'intercondylar notch'.

femur and tibia from front with knee bentseated man showing position of femur

knee bones showing the anatomy of the knee

As the knee is straightened, the rounded ends of the thighbone (condyles) roll over and the important joint cartilage is tucked under and protected.

  • The thighbone is correctly called the femur
  • The shinbone is the tibia
  • The kneecap is the patella
  • The long thin bone on the outer side of the shinbone is the fibula
  • The proper name for the two knee cartilages is menisci (singular is meniscus)
  • The proper name for the gristle is cartilage
  • The two cruciate ligaments are right inside the knee
  • The two collateral ligaments are on the outer sides

the kneecap is part of a tendonYou can see that the kneecap (patella) is actually within the substance of a tendon - the tendon of the quadriceps muscles (the lap muscles). You can see the cruciate ligaments within the joint and the collateral ligaments on the outside.

The menisci - shock absorbers that fill the space and allow smooth movement of the joint - are sandwiched between femur and tibia.

Updated: 10 Apr, 2014
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