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Biomechanics, Evaluation and Osteopathic Perspectives of the Knee

by Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP

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    00:01 We're gonna talk about the knees.

    00:02 Knees are an interesting joint, part of the lower extremity and difficult to manipulate because you don't have lots of tools in your armamentarium.

    00:13 What you do have is a lot of patients who have problems.

    00:16 So understanding the bomechanics, understanding the history and witnessing and predicting what's gonna happen to the knee, is often all you can do.

    00:27 So we're gonna talk about the knee itself- what makes it up and what we can do and where we can focus So starting with the anatomy, the knee is an interesting joint.

    00:38 it's basically the femur with two grooves with the patella in between with a whole bunch of articulations held together by ligaments, bursa and muscles.

    00:48 When you look at the articulatons, it's a hinge joint.

    00:51 You have the tibiofemoral articulation, patellofemoral articulation, and the tibiofibular articulation.

    01:02 And the tibia and the fibula are interesting bones.

    01:05 Fibula is the flat one anteriorly and the tibia is the lateral bone that we used to say was only for muscular attachment, we're not sure fully what the tibia's role is, what we do know it does help wth some of the motion, some of the gliding of the knee and it's important.

    01:26 We're gonna talk a lot about the menisci - the medial and lateral menisci Those are the shock absorbers of the knee.

    01:33 Those are the pads that displace the energy so that when you're walking, your pain is not gonna be pinched, your pressure is not gonna be focused - it's gonna be splayed, displaced and allow you to use your whole knee and your whole foot area.

    01:49 And we'll discuss the bursa.

    01:51 The bursa are the little pockets that have synovial fluids in it that will swell with overuse and give you a sense of what's going on.

    01:59 So take a look at the picture here again, assess the innonimate, use your own body as a model.

    02:05 and work on understanding the bones, the muscles and the ligaments that are going to explain where you're going to have problems.

    02:14 Again the bones are easy, we have the femur superiorly, we have the tibia which is a flat bone and the patella which is a sesamoid bone - it's a bone with no ligament and the fibula which comes down on the lateral aspect of the leg.

    02:32 The muscles and fascia are there, the quadriceps are the ones you're we're going to be focusing on the most, the ones that are going to extend the knee, and the quadriceps vastus, medials, lateralis and intermedius.

    02:48 as well as the rectus femoris.

    02:52 So the muscle and fascia are important.

    02:55 you have the flexors and extensors, you have the quadriceps and hamstrings in the back causing the flexion.

    03:03 And then we'll talk about the ligaments: the anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments that keep the knees stable, and the medial collateral and lateral collateral that also keep the knee in place.

    03:16 So that's the four ligaments we'll talk about that are often injured and need to be paid attention to and often tested for.

    03:24 In terms of the joints within the articular capsule, you have the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint that are going to help with the hinge motion and you have the superior fibulotibular joint in the knee as well.

    03:40 It is a modified hinge joint, there's flexion and extenson of the knee, when there is instability, you're gonna have more motion to the sides which we try and restrict.

    03:52 There's some rotation possible as you noticed when you go side to side, and as you do get some rotation of the knee, and you're gonna have more rotation when it's flexed, which is also any more likely to injure the knee because of the access of the muscles and the loss of protection.

    04:12 The menisci again, allow for stability of the joint, they're deep in the tibial plateau, they give you a subtance that will displace energy and force when you're walking, they will allow for smoothness of functioning by decreasing friction, and increases the contact area for the femur and absorb shock.

    04:36 We talked about the medial and lateral menisci, we also know how much vascularity it has in each portion, separating into the anterior, middle and posterior portions of the menisci, and the more blood supply you have, the more likely the menisci can heal on their own.

    04:57 If you don't have much blood supply, and you do injure it - it's going to be a tough injury, and it's not gonna be something that's gonna heal quickly or easier on its own and often surgical intervention is suggested.

    05:10 If you do remove the menisci because of injury or trauma, it doesn't stop you from having normal function, but it does limit the amount of time you can have normal function and increases the likelihood or possibility of having swelling or other abnormalities occur from use of the knees It will also lead to an increased wear and tear on the articular surfaces, and increase the risk of developing degenerative joint disease later on in life.

    05:40 So the patella is the largest sesamoid bone in the body, it floats in the quadriceps tendon, and the quadriceps are the four muscles that will extend the knee, the patella will slide vertically along the ridges of the femoral condyles, and it does have an articulation, so it's a fulcrum and it helps with motion, it helps with stabilty and it gives you the strength to move the leg harder and stronger.

    06:13 It does also have other motions in the patella -it moves side to side, and give you some freedom.

    06:20 The ligaments, there are four ligaments holding the knee together - the anterior cruciate ligament which will prevent anterior displacement of the tibia and prevents hyperextension of the knee.

    06:32 Occasionally, you'll see people who will extend greater than 180 degrees, there's some ligamentous laxity on occasion, and that can occur but the anterior cruciate ligament keeps it strong, keeps it stable, and prevents overextension and stabilizes the knee.

    06:50 The posterior cruciate ligament will prevent posterior displacement of the tibia, and hyperflexion of the knee.

    06:58 The medial collateral are the deep fibers that are attached to the medial meniscus, and keep the knee stabilized and the lateral collateral does not attach to the lateral meniscus but it attaches to the fibula so it does bring the fibula into motion Why are we talking about ligaments and muscles in osteopathic medicine lecture? because people will complain of pain, people have trouble functioning and it's important to know when to use flexion, when to use extension and how you use knee motion to both affect one joint above the hip and one joint below the ankle, So those are important concepts.

    07:38 Bursa are the little pockets with synovial fluid, they have serous membranes that will secrete a lubricating fluid that eases motion.

    07:50 they're found in locations where you have fricton and motion.

    07:53 They swell up with more use, they shrink up with less use and allows the structures of the knee to move freely and it's also a warning sign when you overuse a joint or misuse a joint.

    08:07 If you have an unstable or a deviated knee, the bursa in that area will swell up.

    08:13 You will also have increased bony deposition in areas of greater friction, Wolff's law - pressure is gonna increase bony formation, is affected by the bursa, The bursa gives you a little bit of leeway in that you're not always having the bone on bone friction causing bony growth, you're having some bursa some fluid, some area of separation.

    08:38 When you walk, the bursa will also affect limitations of motion, and it's important to know what's possible when you're walking, you need to be able to move from 0 to 60 to 70 degrees, when you're climbing stairs, you need to be able to get to 80 degrees of motion of the knee to get upstairs, when you're going downstairs, you need to get to 90 degrees of motion, stting down you want to be able to flex the knee a little bit past 90, so 90 to 95 is usually gonna be comfortable stting on a chair or on a couch, In order to tie your shoe, you need to be able to flex it to a 100 or 110 degrees, that's why a lot of people will lose the ability to tie a shoe before they lose the ability to walk up and downstars, or have trouble sitting, and lifting objects often takes greater flexion - up to a 120 degrees.

    09:40 So you're gonna lose your ability to lift objects comfortably and you need to be off balanced lifting objects using other muscles and pulling skeleton in other ways in order to stabilize yourself using a wider gait, using your arms and starting to develop dfferent centers of gravity.

    10:01 So even though this is the knee that's having the limitation, it affects the functioning of the whole body.

    10:07 In assesssing the knee, you always look at the tibia and femur in relaton to each other.

    10:14 So tibial dysfunctions are actually pretty common - tough to treat and people usually dont think of it as an osteopathic issue, they think of it as orthopedic issue and a bony issue.

    10:28 The dysfunctions that we treat osteopathically are typically distal tibia and distal fibula, not the proximal A tibial dysfunction can be when you have the tibia ABducted or ADducted or it goes anterior or posterior Again the tibial dysfunctions we can treat are going to be the distal ones.

    10:51 And it's usually accessed by sliding the tibia laterally, pushing it away from the body or medially and anteriorly.

    11:03 Typically, I push it more laterally and treat the tibia that way.

    11:08 In terms of the fibular dysfunction, you can have an anterior or posterior fibular head and as the distal fibular head close to the ankle and it's usually asessed by sliding the fibula anteriorly or posteriorly.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Biomechanics, Evaluation and Osteopathic Perspectives of the Knee by Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP is from the course Osteopathic Diagnosis of the Knee Region. It contains the following chapters:

    • Anatomy of the Knee
    • Menisci Function
    • Patella
    • Ligaments

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Absorbs shock by displacing the forces in the knee joint
    2. Produces synovial fluid for lubrication for the knee joint
    3. Acts as a hinge for knee flexion and extension
    4. Prevents knee hyperextension
    5. Prevents knee hyperflexion
    1. Prevents anterior displacement of the tibia
    2. Prevents posterior displacement of the tibia
    3. Prevents medial displacement of the tibia
    4. Prevents lateral displacement of the tibia
    5. Prevents lateral displacement of the fibula
    1. Produces and secretes lubricating fluids to reduce friction in the knee joint
    2. Stabilizes the knee joint
    3. Prevents hyperextension of the knee
    4. Limits the mobility of the knee joint
    5. Acts as a shock absorber and displaces the forces on the knee joint
    1. Anterior fibular head dysfunction
    2. Posterior fibular head dysfunction
    3. Superior fibular head dysfunction
    4. Inferior fibular head dysfunction
    5. Lateral fibular head dysfunction

    Author of lecture Biomechanics, Evaluation and Osteopathic Perspectives of the Knee

     Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP

    Tyler Cymet, DO, FACOFP


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