A quadriceps tendon rupture is a devastating knee injury. This tendon is the tendon that extends from the quadriceps muscle of the thigh to the top of the patella (kneecap).
Mechanism of injury
This is almost always a traumatic event. You usually know a serious injury has occurred. Usually it is very difficult to walk normally, let alone to keep playing. You also will likely not be able to life your leg. It typically occurs in older athletes, meaning athletes 30 or 40 and older. It is actually a common injury in older segments of the nonathletic population as well.
Treatment for a quadriceps tendon rupture – Surgery
You will almost certainly need surgery to repair the torn quadriceps tendon. While it is not a surgical emergency, surgery does need to be performed in the first few days, or within the first week or two at the latest.
The surgeon makes an incision down your knee, puts stitches in the tendon and reattaches the tendon with the stitches to the patella.
Rehab and recovery
The surgeon will likely put your knee in an immobilizer or brace. Initially your knee might be straight for a week or two. Then he will gradually increase the amount you can bend. You will work with a physical therapist to regain normal knee motion, strength and ability to do your desired activities. It can take 6 to 9 months or more to return to your pre-injury activities as you were doing them before the injury.
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