Additional Structures. A strong dense articular capsule, extending from the acetabulum to the femoral neck, encases and strengthens the hip joint, reinforced by three overlying ligaments and lined with synovial membrane. There are three principal bursae at the hip. Anterior to the joint is the itiopectineal (or iliopsoas) bursa, overlying the articular capsule and the psoas muscle. Find the bony prominence lateral to the hip joint—the greater trochanter of the femur. The large multilocular trochanteric bursa lies on its posterior surface. The ischiogluteal bursa—not always present—lies under the ischeal tuberosity, on which a person sits. Note their proximity to the sciatic nerve, as shown on p. 475.
Overview. The knee joint is the largest joint in the body. It involves three bones: the femur, the tibia, and the patella (or knee cap), with three articular surfaces, two between the femur and the tibia and one between the femur and the patella. Note how the two rounded condyles of the femur rest on the relatively flat tibial plateau. There is no inherent stability in the knee joint itself, making it dependent on ligaments to hold its articulating bones in place. This feature, in addition to the lever action of the femur on the tibia and lack of padding from fat or muscle, makes the knee highly vulnerable to injury.
Bony Structures. Landmarks in and around the knee will orient you to this complicated joint. Bring your fingertips firmly down the medial surface of the thigh along a line analogous to the inner seam of a pant leg. Your fingers will run up against an abrupt bony prominence, the adductor tubercle. Just below this is the medial epicondyle. The lateral epicondyle is comparably situated on the other side.
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