Are babies born without kneecaps? Despite common beliefs that babies are not born with kneecaps, they actually are. A lot of people mistakenly believe that babies are not born with them, and they develop later in life as a developmental stage. I know that I’m going to have some parents saying the contrary, so it’s best that we explain a little more about how and when the kneecaps are actually formed.
Unless you have been living an extremely sheltered life you already know what a kneecap is. It’s the bony little piece that sit on the top of the knee joint. The kneecap is there to make the quadricep, they are the muscles on the front of your thighs, more effective. By the tendon of the quadricep being further out that it would otherwise be it provides a better mechanical advantage. The improved mechanical advantage of this muscle is what allows us to perform as well as we do. For example, if the kneecap wasn’t there we would have to use more force, and hence more energy to complete simple tasks. It seems evolution knew what it was doing. But what about babies?
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The common misconception is that babies are born without kneecaps. But this ins’t true. What is true is that an X ray will not be able to detect a kneecap on a baby, but just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It seems that babies are actually born with kneecaps, it’s just that the cartilaginous material is not bony enough to appear on x-rays, or even prevalent enough to be seen with the naked eye. So if babies are born with kneecaps, when do they develop?
The kneecaps actually form at about the fourth month of gestation. While the kneecap is present and has formed while the baby is in the womb, it is common for them to only appear as visible just prior or just after birth. But even at this stage they are still difficult to see.