Ligaments of the knee joint

The knee joint is formed between three bones: femur, tibia, and patella.

The knee joint is strengthened by intracapsular and extracapsular ligaments, based on their location in relation to the joint capsule. 

Several intracapsular ligaments fasten the knee joint, including:

  • Transverse ligament of the knee - extends between the two menisci (medial and lateral) in the front;

  • Anterior cruciate ligament - extends from the inner surface of the lateral condyle of the femur to the anterior intercondylar area of the tibia;

  • Posterior cruciate ligament - stretches between the lateral surface of the medial condyle of the femur to the posterior intercondylar area of the tibia.

The joint capsule that embraces the knee joint is strengthened by the following extracapsular ligaments:

  • Tibial collateral ligament - attaches above at the medial condyle and the medial surface of the body of the tibia;

  • Fibular collateral ligament - arises above from the lateral epicondyle of the femur and extends to the lateral side of the head of the fibula;

  • Patellar ligament - a continuation of the quadriceps muscle tendon;

  • Medial patellar retinaculum - formed by fibers of the vastus medialis muscle;

  • Lateral patellar retinaculum - formed by fibers of the vastus lateralis muscle and some fibers from the rectus femoris;

  • Oblique popliteal ligament - located on the dorsal side of the knee, attaches superiorly to the lateral condyle of the femur and inferiorly extends to the medial condyle of the tibia;
  • Arcuate popliteal ligament - located on the dorsal side, extending from the head of the fibula up to the oblique popliteal ligament.