In humans and other primates, the knee joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two joints: one between the femur and tibia (tibiofemoral joint), and one between the femur and patella (patellofemoral joint). It is the largest joint in the human body. The knee is a modified hinge joint, which permits flexion and extension as well as slight internal and external rotation. The knee is vulnerable to injury and to the development of osteoarthritis. It is often termed a compound joint having tibiofemoral and patellofemoral components. (The fibular collateral ligament is often considered with tibiofemoral components. ) Structure The knee is a modified hinge joint, a type of synovial joint, which is composed of three functional compartments: the patellofemoral articulation, consisting of the patella, or 'kneecap', and the patellar groove on the front of the femur through which it slides, and the medial and lateral tibiofemoral articulations linking the femur, or thigh bone, with the tibia, the main bone of the lower leg. The joint is bathed in synovial fluid which is contained inside the synovial membrane called the joint capsule. The posterolateral corner of the knee is an area that has recently been the subject of renewed scrutiny and research. The knee is the largest joint and one of the most important joints in the body. It plays an essential role in movement related to carrying the body weight in horizontal (running and walking) and vertical (jumping) directions. At birth, the kneecap is just formed from cartilage, and this will ossify (change to bone) between the ages of three and five years. Because it is the largest sesamoid bone in the human body, the ossification process takes significantly longer.
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