The patellofemoral joint is the contact area between the undersurface of the patella and the groove of the femur bone.

Page updated September 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

patellofemoral joint
The patellofemoral joint is not a fixed articulation, but rather it is a groove along which the patella glides.


The patellofemoral 'compartment'

The patellofemoral joint is considered to be a 'compartment', because disease may affect just this one part of the knee articulation. The other two compartments are the two tibiofemoral compartments between tibia and femur.

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Patellofemoral joint trauma

The patellofemoral joint may be damaged by a blow to the front of the knee, or by a traction force along the tendon above and below. A blow may split the soft articular cartilage, while either force may result in a bony fracture of the patella.

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Peer-reviewed papers

  • Examination of the patellofemoral joint

    Citation: Manske RC, Davies GJ. EXAMINATION OF THE PATELLOFEMORAL JOINT. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Dec;11(6):831-853. PMID: 27904788; PMCID: PMC5095938.

    Quote: "...milking tests, sweeping, and ballotment tests" establish the presence of excessive fluid in the joint." Assessment of patellofemoral symptoms must include ruling out "major ligament instability" while the "“patellar grind” test has been described as a confirmatory test for patellar chondromalacia. Often imaging studies are indicated ...and... may include: AP, Lateral, Long Leg Standing, Insall-Salvanti, Merchant, and or Sunrise views. In selected cases the MRI may be indicated."

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PF joint

Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...