What to Know About a Quadriceps Tendon Rupture and Patellar Tendon Tear
The quadriceps tendon and patellar tendon connect the thigh muscle (quadriceps) to the kneecap (patella) and the leg. The quadriceps tendon is responsible for connecting the quadriceps muscle to the patella, while the patellar tendon is responsible for connecting the bottom of the patella to the top of the tibia (shinbone). The patella is attached to the quadriceps muscle by the quadriceps tendon. The knee joint has the ability to straighten because of the quadriceps muscle and both tendons working in unison.
Both tendons work together to provide knee extension for everyday and athletic activities, including walking, kicking, running and walking. When one of these structures tear, even a small partial tear, patients may have pain, difficulty walking and engaging in other daily activities. A complete quadriceps tendon rupture or patellar tendon tear prevents knee function and the injured patient cannot walk or bear weight on the limb. Surgical repair is required to restore knee function. Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California area orthopedic knee specialist, Dr. Mark Getelman is an expert in treating tears of the patellar and quadriceps tendons.
A complete patellar tendon tear or quadriceps tendon rupture is a relatively uncommon knee injury. Injury can occur during an activity with forced flexion of the knee (falling down stairs), an awkward landing during sports activities, or tendon degeneration or weakness.
Quadriceps Tendon Rupture and Patellar Tendon Tear Symptoms
Patients who experience complete quadriceps tendon rupture or a patellar tendon tear often report a tearing or popping sensation followed by pain and swelling. Patients then experience the inability to straighten the leg, bruising, tenderness, cramping, kneecap deformity and cannot walk without the knee buckling.
Quadriceps Tendon Rupture and Patellar Tendon Tear Diagnosis
Dr. Getelman will perform a complete medical review and physical examination if a patient believes they experienced a torn tendon. During the examination, Dr. Getelman will test the affected knee joint’s ability to straighten (extend). He will also perform a variety of x-rays and often an MRI scan to gain a better view of each tendon in order to diagnose the severity, location and pattern of the tear.