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.

Why does everyone seem so vague about kneecap pain?

The literature about the kneecap is all a muddle, both online and in professional journals!

The patella - important anatomical relationships

The kneecap or patella is part of a chain of structures that help to straighten the knee.

What's special about the patella?

The patella or kneecap is an unusual structure and understanding its anatomy and relationships is key to understanding its function.

Who's Who in patellofemoral surgery?

A list of knee surgeons around the world that the KNEEguru site and its readers have identified as having a special interest in surgery of the patella and the structures associated with it.

What are the common kneecap problems?

A quick overview of kneecap problems to help you with your research.

Patellofemoral Pain

Dr Ronald Grelsamer goes into substantial detail in this richly illustrated course, outlining and discussing the various possible causes of pain in the kneecap region.

MRI imaging of the patella provides information that a plain X-ray cannot.

Specifically the MRI allows the doctor to evaluate the articular cartilage under...




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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