The knee is one of the most important and complex joints in the body. The structure of the knee joint comprises soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, and bones.

Acute knee pain is one of the most common problems encountered in clinical settings. Millions of people visit their physicians with complaints of knee pain each year. There are many different causes of knee pain including fractures, tendon ruptures, tumours, and trauma to the menisci ligaments.

The Quadriceps Tendon

The quadriceps tendon is a large, strong, and thick tendon located just above the kneecap. It is part of the extensor mechanism that straightens the knee and can withstand tremendous force. It connects the muscles to the bone and encourages the knee to move when the muscle is contracted.

Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

While it’s not very common, a quadriceps tendon rupture can be highly painful and disabling. It occurs when too much pressure is put on the knee while attempting to straighten it, which causes the tendon to tear.

The main cause of a quad tendon tear is a direct blow during sports activities or a forced flexion of the knee. Spontaneous ruptures can also happen but they are quite rare and are mostly caused by certain predisposing illnesses. People above the age of 40 are more susceptible to quad tendon ruptures.

Symptoms of Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

There are several symptoms that indicate a partial or complete tear of the quadriceps tendon. These include:

  • Inability to straighten the knee without assistance
  • Inability to raise the leg and keep it elevated
  • Swelling in the kneecap
  • A visible gap or divot where the tear has occurred
  • Acute pain

Treating Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

A complete rupture of the quadriceps tendon requires immediate surgical intervention to regain mobility. The surgery must be performed within a few days or weeks of the injury for maximum success.

The torn tendon is reattached to the kneecap by drilling holes in the kneecap and looping the sutures to pull the tendon towards the bone.  

For partial tears in the quadriceps tendon, the treatment can be done without requiring surgical processes. The tear can be encouraged to heal naturally with the use of anti-inflammatory medication, knee braces for support, ice application, physical therapy, plenty of rest and avoiding any athletic activities.

Physical therapy can be beneficial in both surgical and non-surgical treatment of the quadriceps tendon rupture. It’s especially beneficial in strengthening the surrounding supporting muscles utilizing various modalities to encourage the tendon to heal.

Get Expert Medical Assistance!

Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute is one of the most trusted and reputable sports medicine and physiotherapy clinics in the greater Toronto area. Our expert physiotherapists and sport medicine professionals provide expert diagnoses and treatments of various sports injuries and debilitating illnesses.

Our range of services includes concussion treatment, podiatry and prescription orthotics, PRP treatments, shockwave therapy, and custom made knee braces. Our services in the greater Toronto area include Sheppard, St. Clair and Thornhill.