Another important component of the anatomy of the knee is the articular cartilage. This is a smooth lining that covers the end of the knee bones, and which acts as a shock absorber, allowing the knee to perform movements and motions. When the weight of the knee is evenly distributed, the articular cartilage is protected. In addition to cartilage, the knee also contains two very important structures known as the medial and the lateral menisci. The menisci reside on either side of the knee joint acting as shock absorbers.