What is the patellar tendon reflex?

The patellar tendon connects the lower end of the patella with the upper part of the tibia and is therefore strictly speaking not a tendon but a ligament. By definition, a tendon connects a muscle to a bone. However, since the patellar tendon is an extension of the quadriceps tendon that ends at the upper pole of the kneecap, it can nevertheless be called a tendon in a broader sense.

Evidence of neurological diseases

The patellar tendon reflex is often checked during a neurological examination. The doctor taps on the patellar tendon with a reflex hammer below the kneecap, which should result in an extension of the leg.

If the reflex is increased, this may indicate damage to the motor nervous system. In case of a herniated disc or a nerve injury, the reflex may not be triggered.

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