Knee Tendons

The knee tendons play an important role in knee anatomy, connecting the muscles of the leg to the bones. There are many different tendons around the knee, but the patellar tendon, quadriceps tendon, illiotibial band, and the hamstring tendons are the most commonly injured, and the ones we will discuss in more detail.

Quadriceps Tendon

Knee Tendons - Sports Injury Info
The quadriceps tendon attaches the four quadriceps muscles to the patella just above the knee. The vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris are the four quadriceps muscles. The work to extend the knee during activities. The quadriceps tendon is one of several tendons that can be susceptible to tendonitis.

Patellar Tendon

The patellar tendon attaches the patella to the tibia via the tibial tubercle. Because it runs between two bones, it is sometimes referred to as the patellar ligament. It effectively completes the attachment of the quadriceps to the lower leg. The patellar tendon is much thinner than the quadriceps tendon, averaging about 30mm wide. Patellar tendonitis is an extremly common injury in sports.

Illiotibial Band

Illiotibial Band - Sports Injury Info
The illiotibial band is a very long tendon, attaching the tensor faciia latte muscle to the knee. The TFL is a hip abductior, and helps to provide some medial rotation of the tibia. The IT band attaches on both the fibula and the tibia on the lateral side of the knee. As the knee flexes and extends, the illiotibial band moves over the head of the fibula. If this knee tendon is tight, it can cause irritation and inflammation at its insertion. This knee injury is known as IT band friction syndrome.

Hamstring Tendons

The hamstrings are the primary knee flexors, and they run along the posterior side of the thigh. These knee tendons attach to the tibia and the fibula along the medial and lateral sides of the knee. Hamstring tendonitis is a common knee injury with sports.


The knee tendons are vital for normal function of the knee and lower extremity. The provide a connection for the muscles to the bones. They are also very susceptible to knee injury, and tendonitis is one of the more common sports injuries.

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