Human Biomechanics for Beginners: the Knee Joint

This article is part of a series that will describe how various parts of your body move.

Knowing these basics will help you become aware of your movements and move better.

The topic today is your knee joint, which keeps you running, walking, jumping. And moving forward generally.

Your knee joint is the largest joint in your body. It is a hinge joint, bending back and forth in one plane. It is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bursae, and meniscus. An injury to any one of these structures can cause your knee pain.

Your Knee Joint

Your knee joint consists of three bones:

  • the femur (thigh bone)
  • the tibia (shin bone)
  • the patella (kneecap)

The primary movement of your knee joint is:

  • flexion (bent)
  • extension (straight)

The joint also has a small amount of rotation when your knee is in flexion (bent). But if your knee is in extension (straight), rotation can only occur at your hip.

Optimal performance of the knee depends on the structures above and below it. If the pelvis and hips and foot and ankle are not moving well, the knee will suffer, guaranteed.

The knee needs good balance between inner thigh and outer hip strength. The quadriceps help the knee extend (straighten). The hamstrings help the knee flex (bend). But strong core, hip abductors, and glutes are also imperative for healthy knees.

There are many moves that will help keep your knees healthy. Here is one of them.


  1. Stand with your hands resting on a counter or chair in front of you. Keep your feet parallel, hip width apart, with toes pointing forward or slightly out.
  2. Breathe in. Breathe out. Become aware of your breath.
  3. Slowly bend your knees and lower your buttocks behind you as if you are going to sit in a chair.
  4. Keep your knees over your ankles.
  5. Lower yourself about 6 inches. Keep the knee bend small to protect your kneecaps.
  6. Keep your heels on the floor and your weight in your heels.
  7. Slowly return to a standing position.
  8. Repeat 3, 6, 9 times. Listen to your inner athlete. Repeat again during the day

Summing Up:

The knee needs help from its neighbors. Improve the performance of your hips, pelvis, feet, and ankles to keep your knees healthy.

[Medical Disclaimer: This article is for education and information only. It is not a substitute for a doctor’s opinion.] 

Photo credit: Illustration 49323287 © 7active Studio –

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