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J Anat. Aug 1990; 171: 155–162.
PMCID: PMC1257136

Fibrocartilage in the attachment zones of the quadriceps tendon and patellar ligament of man.


Differences are reported in the quantities and distribution of uncalcified fibrocartilage at the attachment sites of the quadriceps tendon and the patellar ligament. The largest quantity of fibrocartilage was characteristic of the quadriceps tendon. A prominent wedge of fibrocartilage was seen in the proximal part of the tibial attachment of the patellar ligament, though there was no fibrocartilage in the most superficial fibres. Little fibrocartilage was seen at the patellar attachment of the patellar ligament. According to other workers, there is a similar change in angle (about 35 degrees) between the quadriceps insertion (in relation to the patella) and the tibial attachment of the patellar ligament (in relation to the tibia). However, there is virtually no change in angle at the origin of the patellar ligament (relative to the patella). Thus, fibrocartilage is least conspicuous where there is little motility near an attachment site. It is suggested that the larger amount of fibrocartilage in the quadriceps tendon compared with the tibial attachment of the patellar ligament may be related to the greater absolute size (and particularly anterior-posterior thickness) of the tendon compared with the ligament.

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Selected References

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