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

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.

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 underneath it. The quads muscle with its tendons containing the patella is known as the 'extensor mechanism'. Showing the relationship of the patella to the underlying groove of the femur.

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.


Basic information about kneecap disorders and their management.

Here is a list of useful resources for patellar patients.

Because the patella is an integral part of the whole muscle-tendon-bone structure that extends the knee, it can be affected by many factors, from the foot up to the lower...

Physiothrapist, Lee Herrington, explores those problems that may cause pain in the front of the knee.

Easy-to-read interpretation of a 2012 medical article on primary traumatic patellar dislocation.

Discussing rotational problems with the log bones of the leg and how they can affect the kneecap.

What is a patella?

A quick animation about the patella bone.




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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