Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 469, Issue 4, pp 1213–1215 | Cite as

In Brief: Patellar Fractures

  • John Scolaro
  • Joseph Bernstein
  • Jaimo AhnEmail author
In Brief


Despite the patella’s small size, patellar fractures can lead to profound pain and impairment owing to their articulation with the distal femur and their critical function in the extensor mechanism of the lower extremity. Treatment often alleviates the impairment—knee extension is restored—but even well-executed treatment may be associated with poor outcomes.

Structure and Function

The patella is a sesamoid bone in the extensor mechanism between the quadriceps tendon and the infrapatellar ligament (patellar tendon). It functions as a lever for knee extension, effectively augmenting the force of the quadriceps. This position and function has three important consequences: (1) the quadriceps is weaker without a patella; (2) there are large compressive forces at the patellofemoral joint; and (3) the patella is subject to high tension forces [7]. The combination of compressive and tensile forces has implications for both mechanisms of injury, methods of treatment, and ultimate...


Patellar Tendon Avulsion Fracture Extensor Mechanism Transverse Fracture Patellar Fracture 
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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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