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Patellar Tendon Rupture: what I did to my knee in Nov

Posted May 15 2008 6:03pm 7 Comments

Patellar Tendon Rupture

What is the Patellar Tendon?

The patella tendon (or patella ligament) connects the patella (kneecap) to the front of the tibia (shin bone) at a protrusion called the tibial tuberosity. Its function is to act as a lever arm for the quadriceps muscles. The quadriceps themselves insert into the upper surface of the patella and when contracted pull on the patella, and thus the patellar tendon, to straighten the knee joint.

What is a Patellar Tendon Rupture?

The patellar tendon is prone to rupturing in individuals with a history of patellar tendon injury such as jumpers knee or degeneration due to age. Injuries of this type serve to weaken the patellar tendon and in the event of strong eccentric quadriceps contraction (contraction during lengthening of the muscle), such as landing from jump, the patella tendon may snap or rupture most commonly at the lower end of the patella.

Corticosteroid injections given to address the inflammation seen in patellar tendonopathies (i.e. jumpers knee) are also known to predispose the individual to ruptures.

Signs and Symptoms of patellar tendon rupture:

  • Patellar tendon ruptures are extremely painful and may be accompanied with an audible 'pop' at the time of injury
  • Swelling of the knee
  • Inability to weight-bear
  • Inability to straighten the knee or hold it in a straightened position

Treatment for Patella Tendon Rupture

What can the athlete do?

  • Apply RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elivation) technique as soon as possible.
  • Take NSAID's (e.g. Ibuprofen) for pain relief and to help decrease swelling.
  • Seek professional medical assistance immediately.

Treatment & Rehabilitation

  • In most cases the patellar tendon becomes completely ruptured across its width and thus surgical intervention is required to repair the damage. This involves suturing (stitching) the torn tendon.
  • Following surgery the patient will be advised on a specific rehabilitation plan which normally involves little or no weight-bearing on the affected knee and wearing a knee brace to prevent the knee from bending. This may be required for more than 6 weeks.
  • Once the knee brace has been removed exercises to regain full range of movement and build up the strength of the quadriceps muscle group should be carried out.

Rehabilitation from a patellar tendon rupture is extremely slow and it may take between 6 and 12 months before the patient is able to return to sports

My healing well yes, I ruptured my patella tendon, I got surgery on Nov. 14 and it has been quite the journey to recovery yesterday I rode my Mt. bike and I don't know how long but it felt good, I'm still compensating and using my right leg more than I should but it's much better than having to keep my leg in a brace for the first 6 weeks, so things and healing are moving fast.. I'm so glad I have stayed positive, motivated, and constantly focused on my healing efforts. Utilizing hypnosis, Training knowledge, infrared therapy, massage, Nutrition, and a few other secret modalities.. I'm still not 100% though have practically regained all my flexibility in my tendon and will reach the last little bit here soon..

This surgery/ injury is a doozy was glad I went through it, made me appreciate my body even more and recovery, rest, and rejuvenation... the importance of rest and taking care of your body from that aspect.. we all got lessons to learn from my experience this was what I took away... pamper yourself more and allow the body to recover if your the type to run it into the ground physically, mentally, or chemically...

Train hard and recover hard as well.. life is all about balance.

Patella Tendon
in great health and happiness
Scott White
Personal Power Training
Professional Fitness Trainer
Comments (7)
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Scott W, I'm 5 months post op my question for u is during training did you have pain in the area where u had the tear at.  The pain is slightly less then pre op pain but soreness nonetheless.  I'm in excellent shape I can run 3 miles and squat over 250 lbs but soreness afterwards makes me fear that it might not have been repaired correctly am I overreacting???

If it's a complete rupture you of course can't straighten your let or knee.  It's very easy to tell if it's completly ruptured because it's impossible to raise your leg from a lying position becuase of course thier are not quad muscles attatched. 

 I was doing a jog, run about 3-4 months afterwards, 6months afterwards I squated over 300lbs. 

 though I was in amazing shape before hand and I also know how to recover very fast with my knowledge and my traning program.

most people say it takes about a whole year to recover from this injury, though I was able to be back to 100% about 7 months.  Again it was alot of my time and knowing my body and how hard i could push and start moving.

 I was lifting with in a week post surgery, doing my oppiste leg and upper body and then slowly adding my injured leg away i coudl to help develop strength very quicky.

though i knew what my body could do so i was very safe in what i did.  My knowledge and awanress of my body is what made it so I recoverd faster then most. Not to mention my willingness to push myself and stay positive to get on track right away. 


How long after the surgery were you able to run.

I am 6 months out and not able to yet.

Is surgery required for this type of injury? And how can you tell the difference betweent a complete rupture of the tendon, and tendonitis?
I had surgery 10 days after i rupture, the sooner the better as long as there's no major swelling.

I just went through the surgery...yes, is a DOOZY! If anyone out there is getting ready to go through it, here is what I recommend. Get a blocker immediately post surgery (in addition to the drugs they provide you), trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Day 4 post surgery, I stopped the drugs altogether, not that I wouldn't have kept them going (especially at night) but I need to be lucid for work starting on Monday. But just so you know if you're going in for the surgery and are concern about how long you will require meds, if you have a medium level of pain threshold, you can get off the pain meds post 4 days and handle with Ibuprofen.

Now it is 7/20/07 (5 days post surgery) and I 'm realizing how much the real struggle is going to be staying positive and keeping motivated. I think I need to get an internal hobby (am thinking about oil painting) and time to walk outside...the sun does wonders :-)

I would appreciate any other advice out there on my new journey and hope that I can shed some light for others going down this path. It is scary but taking it one day at a time, you realize that you will get through it. I heard a quote I like that really applies in my current situation...

"Like photography, character is something that develops in the dark"

All the best,


how soon after your injury did you have surgery? Thanks!


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