Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Patella

Flat triangular sesamoid bone embedded in the quadriceps femoris group muscle tendon that passes anteriorly over the knee joint. Adjective: patellar. It develops in its tendons as a child begins to walk. The patella protects the knee and serves as a lever for the muscles acting across the knee joint. It forms the patellofemoral joint with the patellar ligament and femur. Aka kneecap, knee pan or pan.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"