Skip to Content

Weak in the Knees

A Review of Synovial Joints


Author(s)

Kristine A. Garner
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
kristie.garner@uafs.edu
Amber L. Hall
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith

Abstract

This directed case study follows “John McKnight,” a high school athlete who has just returned from a previous injury to actively playing sports again. In his weakened condition, John sustains a new injury that affects his mobility. Upon examination, he is diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his knee and undergoes surgery to repair it. During his rehabilitation, he befriends an older patient with arthritis of the knee, and learns how arthritis can affect joints and mobility. This case study allows students to review the anatomical structures associated with a synovial joint using the knee as an example. Ancillary information, such as basic imaging techniques that are used to view bones and associated structures, are also discussed. An anatomical diagram for students to label is included to enhance learning the basic structures of the knee. Additional information and questions include how a torn meniscus, inflammation, and arthritis can affect movements at the knee. The case is well suited for a high school anatomy and physiology class or for an undergraduate human anatomy course.


Objectives

  • Describe inflammation as a general immune response.
  • Differentiate between an x-ray and an MRI.
  • Describe major structures of the knee including major ligaments and the menisci, and explain how the knee is stabilized by ligaments and muscles.
  • Describe how the knee flexes and extends and discuss how joint damage and disuse of associated muscles can limit movement at the knee.
  • Explain how exercise can be beneficial for muscle atrophy, arthritis, and other types of joint pathologies.

Keywords

Knee; joint; synovial; meniscus; ligament; arthritis; inflammation; stability; imaging techniques

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Directed, Discussion

Language

English

Subject Headings

Anatomy  |   Medicine (General)  |  


Date Posted

06/23/2020

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Comments