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Patellar Tendon Injury

The patellar tendon, in conjunction with the muscles in the front of your thigh, works to straighten the knee. A partial patellar tendon tear makes walking a challenge. A complete patellar tendon tear is a disabling injury that will require surgery.

What causes a Patellar Tendon Tear?

An injury to the knee’s patellar tendon is usually the result of a fall or landing awkwardly from a jump.

How do you know you have a Patellar Tendon Tear?

A popping or tearing sensation is often felt with a patellar tendon tear. Other symptoms include:

  • Knee pain and tenderness
  • Knee swelling
  • Inability to straighten the leg
  • Cramping
  • Buckling of the knee

How does OSI fix a Patellar Tendon Tear

A board-certified orthopedic knee specialist will listen to your concerns and examine you for signs and symptoms of a patellar tendon injury. You can expect your OSI knee expert to do one or more of the following to confirm a patellar tendon tear and help determine the best course of action for treatment:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and general medical history, then examine your knee and see how well you can straighten it, which provides clues to the presence of a patellar tendon tear.
  • X-rays: X-rays can show the position of the kneecap, which will be out of place with this kind of tear.
  • MRI: An MRI can show the location and severity of the tear.

Nonsurgical Treatment

If the patellar tendon tear is small, nonsurgical treatments generally work well:

  • Immobilization: A brace will keep the knee straight. Expect 3 to 6 weeks in a brace, most likely with crutches.
  • Physical therapy: Specific exercises (first with the brace and then without) to restore flexibility, range of motion, and strength.

Surgical Treatment

If the patellar tendon tear is modest or severe, most people need surgery to regain full knee function. Those requiring surgery typically do better if the tendon is repaired shortly after the injury. Most heal completely from patellar tendon surgery, but there can be long-term weakness even with a successful repair. And if you’re an athlete, you can expect a full year to recover and be able to return to your former performance level.