Medical Definition of Knee jerk

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Knee jerk: The reflex that is tested by tapping just below the bent knee on the patellar tendon. Normally this causes the quadriceps muscle to contract and bring the lower leg forward. It has given rise to the saying 'a knee-jerk reaction.' Also known as patellar reflex.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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