Patellar Tendon Tear

A patellar tendon tear is the result of an injury of the large tendon located at the front of the knee. The patellar tendon works with the muscles in the thigh to help straighten the leg. Mobility is impacted with a small tear, but is disabling when a complete tear occurs.


Patellar tendon tears most commonly occur when the front of the knee experiences a direct impact from a fall, jump, or sports injury. The tendon is more likely to tear if it is already weakened from inflammatory diseases, medications, and prior injuries or surgeries.


When a patellar tendon tear occurs, patients usually notice a tearing or popping sensation followed by pain and swelling. Straightening the leg and walking will also be very difficult. The kneecap may also slide above the knee.


Physicians will thoroughly examine the knee to see if it can be extended. Symptoms and medical history will also be assessed. Imaging tests such as x-rays and MRIs may be used to properly diagnose a patellar tendon tear.


Treatment varies depending on the severity of the patellar tendon tear. Minor tears respond well to bracing, rest, and physical therapy. Complete tears usually require surgery to regain full mobility.

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At Insight, we strive to be available for our patients and make healthcare as simple and seamless as we can. If you have questions, need additional information, or would like to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!