What Is A Patellar Tendon Rupture?
The patellar tendon connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia or shin bone. The patellar tendon works with the quadriceps tendon to extend and straighten the knee. The patellar tendon also helps keep the patella in place during athletic activity. Patellar tendon ruptures typically arise from an eccentric load to the tendon (essentially, landing from a jump) or sudden direct trauma to the front of the knee.
What Are The Symptoms?
A patient may hear or feel a pop at the time of the injury. Patients may experience pain, swelling and bruising in the front of the knee. Many patients experience significant instability and are unable to straighten or bear weight on the injured knee. Some patients may notice the patella is positioned higher than normal.
How Is It Treated?
The majority of patients with complete patellar tendon ruptures will require surgery. Initial treatment is usually provided in an ER or Urgent care setting and the knee is placed in a knee immobilizer. Patients are encouraged to use ice and NSADs to control pain and swelling.
When Is Surgery Recommended?
Surgery is recommended for complete patellar tendon ruptures to restore the patient’s ability to fully extend and straighten the leg. It is an outpatient surgery that requires an open incision to visualize and repair the two torn ends of the tendon back together. Patients are required to wear a hinged knee brace and attend physical therapy following surgery.
Drs. Silas, Frush and Bak are experienced in the diagnosis and repair of these injuries.