Though the biggest joints in our bodies, knees are often forgotten – until they start causing some pain. Knees have a central role to play in our mobility and they carry heavy strain every single day, but how much do we really know about these essential joints? Here are 4 interesting facts that you might not have heard about knees before.
- The knee is the most complicated and biggest joint in human body. There are two joints, tibiofemoral joint and patellofemoral joint, that take the heavy lift, bearing most of the weight and enabling us to bend the knee. The knee gets the strength and stability from four bones: tibia (shin bone), patella (kneecap), femur (thigh bone) and fibula. On top of those, there are ligaments that attach the bones together – ligaments act like stretchy bands. There are 5 major ligaments that keep the knee safely in place and allow it to move around without going too forward or backwards.
- One of the knee’s functions is to carry the weight of the body and absorb the shock that is caused by walking, running, jumping or other weight bearing activities. The most mesmerizing aspect of this function is the kneecap’s ability to bear up to 5 times of the body weight. That means, the kneecaps are able to bear even half a ton of weight. However, the bigger the weight, the greater the stress. Obesity can cause increased inflammation which may lead to developing osteoarthritis. On the contrary, each pound of lost weight is equal to four pounds of weight lost for the knees, so losing just 10 pounds can reduce the stress on your knees by 40 pounds.
- Newborn baby’s knees are made almost completely of cartilage. You might have heard the statement that newborns don’t really have kneecaps but they actually do. These kneecaps are just much softer than an adult’s and they don’t show up on x-ray as well as they are not „bony“. The hard bone forms up to the age of 5-6 and it gets a firmer form around the age of 10-12 and even then it gradually continues to get stronger until it’s completely formed by adolescence.
- All people have unique kneecaps (also called knee knobbles). Similarly to our fingerprints, there is no 2 people with the exact same kneecap structure . The researchers have started to create an MRI scanner that would enable to detect kneecaps for airport security system. It is believed that this scanner could help to prevent fraudery as it’s possible to fool the system only with the help of an extensive surgery. After initial tests the research team has said the test to be 93% accurate which can mean it won’t take long before this system is implemented at the airport security.
Did you know any of these facts? The anatomy and functions of the knee can be fascinating and it definitely deserves more attention – after all, we all have a completely unique set of knees and it is important to take the best care of these vital joints in our bodies.