The patella is the kneecap, the bone sitting over the front of the knee. Plural = 'patellae'.

patella with patellar tendon and quads tendon patella within the tendon of the quads muscle patella from above
The patella from the side, showing its relationship to the femur bone and tibia bone. The patella is contained within the tendon of the quads muscle and the whole muscle-bone-tendon complex is known as the 'extensor mechanism'. A stable patella is contained within the walls of the underlying groove of the femur.

 

The extensor mechanism

The patella is a 'sesamoid bone', contained within a tendon, and subject to the forces that pass through that tendon and its related muscles. The part of the tendon below the patella is called the patellar tendon, while the part above is called the quads tendon, but it is all part of a single functional structure. When the knee straightens or extendes, the forces go through all parts of the extensor mechanism.

Synonyms: 
kneecap
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Explaining how the kneecap glides within the underlying groove of the femur bone.

How to perform patellar mobilisations

A brief but high value eBook - fully illustrated - showing how to keep the tissues around the kneecap supple.

Knee bones from above

Simple illustrations to give a birds' eye view of the knee bones.

Knee bones from front (bent knee)

Brief introduction to the bony anatomy of the knee, with clear illustrations.

Knee anatomy intro

This page demonstrates the bones of the knee - femur, tibia, and patella. The shock-absorbing menisci fill the gap between the rounded ends of the femur bone and the flattened upper surface of the tibia bone. The cruciate ligaments act as a 'stay' to allow movement of the femur and tibia, without the movement being excessive.

Pages

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CLINICAL PUBLICATIONS

Patellar position in patients with patellofemoral syndrome as characterized by anatomo-radiographic study. Franco BAFM, Sadigursky D, Daltro GC. Rev Bras Ortop. 2018 Jul 7;53(4):410-414.

Acute traumatic patellar dislocation. Duthon VB. Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2015 Feb;101(1 Suppl):S59-67.


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