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Patellar Ligament
Muscular System

Patellar Ligament

Ligamentum patellae

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Structure/Morphology

The patellar ligament (patellar tendon, or infrapatellar portion of quadriceps tendon) is the inferior continuation of the quadriceps tendon. It extends inferiorly from the apex of the patella to the tibial tuberosity.

Together, the quadriceps tendon and the patellar ligament are integrated into the extensor apparatus of the knee. The anterior-most fibers of the quadriceps tendon descend to cover the anterior surface of the patella, creating an anterior tension band. It continues inferiorly as the patellar ligament. Some authors argue that the patellar ligament is a tendon, since the patella is a sesamoid bone by definition.

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Anatomical Relations

The patellar ligament blends on either side with the retinacula of the knee joint, which are essentially two thickenings of the fibrous layer of the articular capsule of the knee. The patellar ligament is separated from the synovial membrane of the articular capsule by the infrapatellar fat pad.

Function

The combined quadriceps tendon and patellar ligament attach the muscle bellies of the quadriceps femoris muscle to the tibial tuberosity. This insertion site allows the quadriceps muscle to be able to extend the leg at the knee joint.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Patellar reflex

- Cruciate ligament repair

- Patellar ligament rupture

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Patellar Ligament

ScienceDirect image

A strong tap on the patellar ligament of the leg elicits a knee jerk reflex, which follows closely the oscillations of the pendulum.

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