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Quadriceps Tendon Tear

  • The quads tendon sits above the knee, joining the quads muscles to the top of the patella.
  • Tears are more common in middle aged populations. The mechanism of injury is an eccentric (lengthening) contraction of the quads resulting in a painful disabling condition.
  • Tendon weakness caused by tendinitis or chronic disease will result in higher risk of sustaining a quads tendon tear. Most large quads tendon tears should be treated surgically.

What are the symptoms of a tear?

  • A popping or tearing sensation
  • Pain and swelling
  • Inability to straighten the knee
  • An indentation at the top of your kneecap where the tendon tore
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Cramping
  • Your kneecap may droop because the tendon is torn
  • Difficulty walking due to the knee buckling or giving way

What is the treatment?

  • Small tears may heal with brace immobilization, crutches and physical therapy.
  • However most complete   tears require surgery to repair the torn tendon. Surgery involves reattaching the torn tendon to the top of the kneecap.
  • Results are better if the repair if performed soon after the injury to prevent tendon scarring or the tendon shortening and tightening.