Your patellar tendon is located in the front and center of your kneecap. This cord of strong, fibrous tissue connects your thigh muscle to your shin bone and plays an essential role in your ability to straighten your leg at the knee joint.
Your patellar tendon can tear under stress. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could find yourself dealing with either a partial or complete tear. Even small tendon tears can result in knee pain and difficulty walking, making it difficult to live your life to the fullest.
At Rapid City Orthopedics, located in Rapid City, South Dakota, Dr. Joseph Humpherys and the rest of our team perform expert patellar tendon repair procedures. Here’s what you need to know about patellar tendon tear injuries, risks, and treatment options.
Causes of patellar tendon tears
Your patellar tendons connect the bottom of your kneecap (patella) to the top of your shinbone. They also attach to your quadricep muscles and tendons. It takes all these elements working together to straighten your knee joint.
If your patellar tendon endures significant stress, it can result in tears that can affect your knee joint function. While it takes a lot of force to completely tear your patellar tendon, partial tears are common. And, you could have an underlying weakness in the tendon, making it more prone to injury.
The type of injury most likely to lead to a patellar tendon tear is falls, especially if the front of your knee takes a direct impact. Landing from a jump, or jumping upward from a stance with a bent knee, can also result in a patellar tendon tear.
Patellar tendons can be weakened by conditions like tendinitis — a condition often referred to as “jumper’s knee” that occurs in runners. Chronic conditions like high cholesterol can also result in tendon weakness, making you more prone to injury.
Treating your patellar tendon tear
Without the right treatment, you could be looking at lasting knee pain issues and an increased risk of degenerative knee arthritis. Conservative treatment options, like physical therapy exercises or bracing, may be all you need to resolve partial patellar tendon tears.
Often, surgery is needed to repair complete patellar tendon tears and preserve your knee’s full function. Dr. Humpherys provides patellar tendon surgery to reconstruct a torn patellar tendon. If you need surgery, it’s a good idea to schedule your procedure promptly after your injury because it increases your chances of optimal healing and reduces the risks of potential complications. Post-surgery, physical therapy and bracing help your knee heal after the procedure.
It typically takes about six months to completely recover after a patellar tendon tear.
For expert patellar tendon repair and support with other knee pain issues, contact Rapid City Orthopedics today. Get started by requesting an appointment online, or call us now to book your session with a member of our team.