We reviewed the records of 107 consecutive patients who had undergone surgery for disruption of the knee extensor mechanism to test whether an association existed between rupture of the quadriceps tendon and the presence of a patellar spur. The available standard pre-operative lateral radiographs were examined to see if a patellar spur was an indicator for rupture of the quadriceps tendon in this group of patients. Of the 107 patients, 12 underwent repair of a ruptured patellar tendon, 59 had an open reduction and internal fixation of a patellar fracture and 36 repair of a ruptured quadriceps tendon. In the 88 available lateral radiographs, patellar spurs were present significantly more commonly (p < 0.0005) in patients operated on for rupture of the quadriceps tendon (79%) than in patients with rupture of the patellar tendon (27%) or fracture of the patella (15%). In patients presenting with failure of the extensor mechanism of the knee in the presence of a patellar spur, rupture of the quadriceps tendon should be considered as a possible diagnosis.