This Primer explains why the little kneecap bone is central to knee function, and also to knee rehabilitation.

First published in 2017, and reviewed August 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

The patella (kneecap) is an important bone that forms a part of the muscle/tendon complex that stretches from hip to shinbone, and which acts to straighten the knee - anything affecting the structures here will also affect the patella, and may cause distressing symptoms. Hence it can be a complex issue to tease out the cause of pain or instability in this area.


FIRST PART: The patella - important anatomical relationships