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Knee. 2003 Sep;10(3):215-20.

Anatomy and biomechanics of the medial patellofemoral ligament.

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Mechanical Engineering Department, Biomechanics Section, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2BX, UK.

Erratum in

  • Knee. 2004 Feb;11(1):73.


The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) is a band of retinacular tissue connecting the femoral medial epicondyle to the medial edge of the patella. The MPFL is approximately 55 mm long, and its width has been reported to range from 3 to 30 mm. The MPFL is overlaid by the distal part of vastus medialis obliquus to a variable extent, and fibres of MPFL merge into the deep aspect of the muscle. Despite the MPFL being very thin, it had a mean tensile strength of 208 N, and has been reported to be the primary passive restraint to patellar lateral displacement. Lateral patellar displacement tests in vitro showed that the patella subluxed most easily at 20 degrees knee flexion. The contribution of the MPFL to resisting patellar lateral subluxation was greatest in the extended knee. This finding was linked to the retinaculae being tightest in full knee extension, and slackening with flexion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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