Medial patellofemoral ligament

Last revised by Dr Henry Knipe on 23 Aug 2022

The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) belongs to the anterior medial supporting structures of the knee 1-3 and it is the main structure, preventing the patella from lateral displacement at 50-60% restraining force 1,7-9. It is one of the medial patellar stabilizers together with the medial retinaculum and the vastus medialis oblique muscle 5.

Gross anatomy

The MPFL is located superior and anterior to the medial collateral ligament and is part of the medial patellar retinaculum and the intermediate medial capsular layer 1-4. It forms the medial patellofemoral complex together with the medial quadriceps tendon femoral ligament 5.

Attachments
  • the MPFL has two origins 11
    • femoral tubercle component between the medial femoral epicondyle, the adductor tubercle and the gastrocnemius tubercle, just superior to the femoral origin of the superficial medial collateral ligament 1,2,4
    • oblique decussation component arising from the anterior edge of the proximal 3 cm of the superficial medial collateral ligament 11
  • distal insertion is at the superomedial aspect of the patella 1,2

Related pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: with avulsion injury
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  • Case 2: disruption of the femoral attachment
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