The knee is a complex joint. It contains the distal end of the femur (the femoral condyles) and the proximal end of the tibia (the tibial plateau). The femoral condyles usually glide smoothly on the tibial plateau. This allows the lower leg to move smoothly and painlessly.
Review Date 7/25/2020
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.