The patellar tendon is the broad tendon under the kneecap, joining it to the tibia (shin).
Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)
The patellar tendon is the lower part of a chain of structures known as the extensor mechanism, which reach from the hip to the shin and function to straighten the knee.
The patellar tendon itself attaches the patella to the tibia at a point called the tibial tubercle.
Patellar tendon problems
The patellar tendon is really important as it is the tether for the extensor mechanism. Problems that can arise here include:
- Patellar malalignment - where the tendon attachment does not align well with the groove in which the patella is contained.
- Osgood-Schlatter's disorder - also called Juvenile traction osteochondritis - where repeated jumping activities in a young person put stress on the attachment of the tendon to the tibia at the tibial tuberosity.
- Patellar tendinitis - where overuse in an older person leads to painful mucoid degeneration inside the tendon itself.
- Patellar tendon rupture - where extreme sports can cause the patellar tendon to break.
Patellar tendon as a graft material
In patients who have damage to their cruciate ligaments, part of the big patellar tendon may be 'harvested' by a surgeon and used as a graft material for a new cruciate ligament.
- please give advice an graft selection, im freaking out.
Patients discuss options - including patellar tendon - for reconstructing their torn cruciate ligament.
- Please not the other knee as well!!!!
A wide-ranging discussion about patellar tendinitis and other problems in and around the patellar tendon.
"The management of this condition has continued to challenge health care professionals as the pathology and risk factors have not been fully elucidated...effective conservative intervention includes relative rest, addressing biomechanical issues, eccentric exercise, stretching, and movement retraining...other options for treatment include injectables (platelet-rich plasma, whole blood, aprotinin), glyceryl trinitrate patch, extracoprporeal shock wave therapy, and surgery."
Citation: Reinking MF. CURRENT CONCEPTS IN THE TREATMENT OF PATELLAR TENDINOPATHY. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Dec;11(6):854-866. PMID: 27904789; PMCID: PMC5095939.
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Relevant material -
- Extensor mechanism
- Patellar tendinopathy
- Patellar tendon rupture
- Tibial tuberosity
- Traction apophysitis
- Juvenile traction osteochondritis
- Tibial tubercle avulsion
- Bone-patellar tendon-bone graft