What is the anatomy of the knee relevant to patellofemoral arthritis?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Dinesh Patel, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Answer

The patella is a sesamoid bone, the largest in the body, embedded in the quadriceps and patella tendons. A subcutaneous bursa separates the patella from the overlying skin. The articular surface of the patella consists of four facets: inferior, middle, superior, and medial vertical.

During flexion, the patella moves within a groove in the femur, the trochlea. The patella is thought to travel in a J-shaped pattern, moving laterally with knee extension. [4]

The lateral aspect of the trochlea, the vastus medialis, and the medial patella-femoral ligament prevent excessive lateral translation. The anatomy of the distal femur and the vastus lateralis and lateral patella-femoral ligaments provides restraints against medial subluxation.

The patellar plexus provides the blood supply to the patella. The plexus is an anastomosis of the superior and inferior genicular arteries, which are branches of the popliteal artery,


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