Inside a normal knee joint, thick cushioning (cartilage)
covers and protects the ends of your bones. This is called hyaline cartilage.
Another type of cartilage, called meniscal cartilage or meniscus, acts like a
shock absorber between the bones and keeps the knee joint stable by spreading
out the load evenly across the joint. The two menisci (plural of meniscus)
protect and cushion the surface of the joint and the ends of your
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that protects and cushions
the knee joint breaks down over time. As the cartilage wears down, the bone
surfaces rub against each other. This damages the tissue and bone, causing
pain. Osteoarthritis is common in the knee joints.
Removal of damaged cartilage from the lower end of the femur
and placement of the femoral component
Removal of damaged cartilage from the upper end of the tibia
and placement of the tibial component
Removal of damaged cartilage from the patella and placement
of the patellar component
Completed knee replacement
April 8, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.