The patellar tendon works in conjunction with the knee cap and your shin bone to bend and straighten the leg.  A partial or complete tear of the patellar tendon can be very painful and  a full tear may require surgery.  When the tendon tears, it allows the patella to be misplaced and move upward which may restrict the ability to straighten the knee.

Anyone can suffer from a ruptured patellar tendon, but the injury is commonly caused by a direct blow to the knee. Middle aged adults who are active in sports like basketball or volleyball may also be at risk of a ruptured patellar tendon due to the constant running and jumping.  The tendon typically tears at a point when the knee is bent and the foot is planted, like a volleyball player getting ready to jump up and block a ball. Patellar tendonitis may also cause a rupture as the tendon may have small tears that weaken the knee as a result of the condition.  The small tears may increase the chances of a rupture.


The treatment options for a ruptured patellar tendon depend largely on the severity of the rupture and the affected person’s age and activity level.  If you think you may have ruptured your patellar tendon the first step is to see an orthopedic surgeon for a proper diagnosis. The treatment options will basically fall into two categories, non-surgical and surgical.

Non – Surgical Treatment

If the tear is small, the surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatment like rest, ice, and/or anti-inflammatory medications. She may also immobilize the knee with a brace and the brace will help keep the knee straight while the tendon heals.  During this time, physical therapy may also help strengthen the knee and improve range of motion.

 Surgical Treatment

If the tendon is fully or severely ruptured, surgery will likely be the best option to restore maximum functionality of the knee.  The surgery will reattach the tendon to the kneecap to prevent the patella from sliding upward and moving out of place.

Looking for a knee specialist?

A Patellar Tendon Rupture can be a very painful and debilitating injury that restricts your leg from extending. If you have injured your knee, the best thing to do is to seek medical attention from an orthopedic surgeon to get a proper diagnosis on your injury and the best treatment options. Depending on the severity, the surgeon may immobilize your leg and recommend physical therapy or she may suggest surgery as the best option.

If you need an orthopedic surgeon, find an IBJI physician nearest you, for the best orthopedic care In the Chicagoland area.