The knee capsule is the water-tight fibrous casing enclosing the important structures inside the joint cavity.
The inner aspect of the knee capsule is lined by cells called synovial cells that secrete a lubricating and nourishing fluid into the joint. The whole layer of synovial cells, which is quite complex in sutructure, is called the synovium.
The space can also become distended of its own accord if problems inside the knee trigger excessive secretion of synovial fluid, called an 'effusion'.
The capsule can also be distended also by blood if there has been an injury or if blood vessels damaged during surgery are not properly cauterised during the procedure. When this happens the knee can look very swollen and feels tense and painful. This is called an 'haemarthrosis'.
Pain from the increased fluid pressure of both an effusion and an haemarthrosis may be relieved by withdrawing the fluid via a needle placed into the joint. This is called joint aspiration.
Other problems involving the capsule