Ligaments, Menisci, & Bursae Of The Knee Joint
By Tyler Woodward
Knees never seem to be all that important until they're no longer working right. Ligaments, Menisci & Bursae are all essential parts of the knees functioning properly and pain-free. If you want to learn the parts of your knee and how to keep them functioning, keep reading!
What Are Ligaments?:
A ligament is defined as, “tough fibrous band of connective tissue that serves to support the internal organs and hold bones together in proper articulation at the joints”. Ligaments are basically what is responsible for holding your bones together. Ligaments are pieces of connective tissue that attach one bone to another. There are a few ligaments that are responsible for holding up organs in their correct position, but when people refer to ligaments they generally are referring to those which hold up bones.
Ligaments are made up of extremely strong collagen fibers that enable them to maintain their rigid shape. Collagen fibers do have a slight give to them or “an elastic element”, but generally they are extremely resistant and do not bend or flex much. This is why ligaments are more prone to tearing, as they do not stretch much. This is in contrast to muscles and even tendons which are much more elastic or flexible.
Lastly, ligaments have a limited ability to heal in comparison to other types of cells in the body, as they have a limited direct blood supply. For this reason completely torn ligaments require surgery in many cases, but partial tears and sometimes full tears can heal on their own depending on their severity.
Types Of Ligaments In The Knee:
There are four ligaments found in the knee joint in addition to two meniscus.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
What Are Bursae?:
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that connect soft tissues (tendons and muscles) to bones. In adult humans there are 160 bursae located throughout the human body. The sac’s basically serve similarly to miniature airbags helping to reduce the amount of force that must be absorbed through the joints and any damage that occurs. The Bursae plays a significant role in lessening the amount of wear that occurs on the joints. Because there are so many muscles that attach to the knee there are a number of bursae located all around the knee both superficial and deep within the knee joints.
It’s uncommon to have serious injuries regarding the bursae, but they can often become inflamed. This is a condition known as, “bursitis” and is the result of the swelling of the bursa sac. These generally do not need medical attention and will heal on their own with adequate rest.
What Are Menisci?:
Menisci are in many ways a cross between ligaments and bursae. Menisci are less stiff than the tough collagenous ligaments, but also not as soft or fluid as the bursae. Menisci are the main shock absorbers of a joint and within the knee there are two menisci:
Types Of Menisci In The Knee:
- Medial Meniscus
- Lateral Meniscus
The menisci are also subject to tearing especially in athletes, but have a higher capacity to regenerate and heal compared to ligaments.
Read More: 14 Hacks To Eliminate Inflammation Naturally
How To Keep Your Knees Healthy:
1. Exercise -
Doing some form of movement or exercise is without a doubt the most important thing you can do to maintain your knee health. Whether it’s walking, weightlifting or simply riding a bike, using your muscles is the best way to ensure that you don’t “lose them”. The more your muscles atrophy (breakdown), the more stress is placed on your joints instead of on your muscles, due to muscle loss.
If you’re looking for an exercise routine that is designed to keep your muscles and joints moving in the long-run, then look no further than UMZUfit. UMZUfit takes everything you need to take into account in order to maintain your joint health and longevity in the long-run.
2. Consume Adequate Protein
In order to maintain your muscle mass as you age (and at any time) you must consume adequate amounts of protein. Your body does not have any means of storing protein, so if you do not consume enough protein your body is forced to break down your muscle’s. At the minimum you should be consuming 80 grams of protein if you are a very small individual and 100 grams minimum as a more general recommendation.
3. Consume A Nutrient-Rich & Anti-Inflammatory Diet
If you want to maintain your joint health, you must consume the nutrients which your joints require in order to both function and heal. Most importantly you must consume enough calcium to maintain the rigid calcium structure of your bones, vitamin K2 to regulate calcium and ensure it’s in the right places and protein specifically collagen protein to provide your body with the amino acids found in your joints. Lastly, making sure to avoid the highly unstable polyunsaturated fats which are prone to oxidize and “rust” in the body resulting in inflammation. Saturated fats like butter, ghee, lard or tallow are stable and also happen to be one of the best sources of Vitamin K2.
My goal in writing this article, as always, is to provide you with logically-based principles that you can use to form your own conclusions regarding any information you may come across within the fitness industry. I really hope you found this article interesting and applicable to your own life and with any luck I will have transferred a bit of my passion for resistance training to you :). If you have anything to add to this article, or any comments or criticism feel free to reach me on our facebook groups or on Instagram @tylerwoodward_fit. And please feel free to share this article with anyone that might be interested.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time… be good