Glossary of Terms

Anterior: Closer to or at the front of the body.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL): The ligament that connects the tibia to the femur at the center of the knee. Its function is to limit rotation and forward motion of the tibia.

Antibiotic Cement Spacer: If a patient suffers a severe knee infection after a total knee replacement, an antibiotic spacer will be placed in the knee until the infection is healed and a new prosthetic can be inserted.

Arthroscopy: A minimally invasive surgery to repair or remove soft tissues of the knee, including the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or the Meniscus.

Articular Cartilage: The specific cartilage that covers the moving surfaces inside the knee such as the tibia, the femur and the underside of the patella.

Bone Spurs: Abnormal projections of bone, also known as ostophytes. This is often caused by increased stress on the ends of the bones.

Collateral Ligaments: Ligaments that run along the sides of the knee and limit sideways motion.

Condyle: A rounded projection at the end of a bone that anchors muscle ligaments and articulates with adjacent bones.

Femur: The thigh bone or upper leg bone.

Fibula: The outer and thinner of the two bones of the human leg between the knee and the ankle.

Hamstring Muscles: The muscle group located on the back of the thighs; they allow the knee to flex, the thigh to extend and the leg to be drawn inward.

Intramedullary Canal: The canal that runs up the center of the femur.

Lateral: Farther from the middle of the body (near the side).

Lateral Compartment: The joint on the outer or lateral side of the knee.

Ligaments: Elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone.

Medial: Closer to the midline of the body (near the middle).

Medial Compartment: The joint on the inner or medial side of the knee.

Meniscus: Pads of cartilage that further the cushion of a joint, acting as shock absorbers between two bones. Meniscus can be found on both the lateral (on the side) and medial (near the middle) side of the knee joint.

Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis affecting the knee. It is a chronic disease that occurs most often with age. The disease is characterized by the deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones within the joints causing inflammation, swelling, pain, and stiffness.

Patella: The kneecap; a flat triangular bone located at the front of the knee joint.

Patella-Femoral Arthritis: Arthritis that is primarily focused around the kneecap (patella) and femur (thigh bone).

Patellar Ligament: This ligament helps secure the kneecap over the front of the knee joint.

Patello Femoral Joint: The joint under the kneecap, or patella.

Total Knee Replacement: When the femur, tibia, and patella are fitted with prosthetic components.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis: A sub-classification of arthritis.

Posterior: Closer to or at the back of the body.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL): A primary stabalizing ligament of the knee that prevents displacement of the tibia backward within the knee joint.

Prosthesis: An artificial body part designed to supplement or replace natural parts.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: An inflammatory disease that involves the lining of the joint (synovium). The inflammation typically affects the joints in the hands and feet. Over time, cartilage and bone become eroded and the joints become deformed.

Steroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroid directly into the knee can often produce pain relief for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation at the area of injection for days or weeks at a time.

Synovial Membrane: A membrane that produces lubricating fluid (synovial fluid), which contributes to the smooth movement of the knee.

Tendons: Tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bone.

Tibia: The shin bone or the larger bone of the lower leg.