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TEXT: (908) 224-4639
CALL: (908) 486-1111 or
TEXT: (908) 224-4639
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Patellar Tendon Tear

A patellar tendon tear is a serious injury that involves a partial or complete rupture of the patellar tendon, which connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shin bone). The patellar tendon is crucial for the function of the knee joint, as it allows the quadriceps muscles to extend the leg and perform activities like walking, running, and jumping. A tear in the patellar tendon can significantly impact mobility.

The signs and symptoms of a patellar tendon tear, which involves the partial or complete rupture of the tendon connecting the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shin bone), can be quite distinctive.

Here are the common signs and symptoms associated with a patellar tendon tear:

  • Sudden, Severe Pain: The onset of pain is often abrupt and intense. The pain is usually felt in the front of the knee, where the patellar tendon is located.
  • Audible “Pop”: Some individuals report hearing an audible “pop” or snapping sound at the time of the injury, which may indicate the moment the tendon tears.
  • Inability to Straighten the Knee: One of the hallmark symptoms is the inability to fully straighten the knee or extend the leg. This is due to the loss of connection between the patella & the tibia.
  • Swelling & Bruising: Swelling around the front of the knee can occur soon after the injury. Additionally, bruising might develop due to bleeding within the knee tissues.
  • Difficulty Walking & Bearing Weight: Walking and putting weight on the affected leg becomes challenging and painful due to the instability caused by the torn patellar tendon.
  • Visible Gap or Depression: In some cases of complete tears, a visible gap or depression may be noticeable above the patella where the tendon has separated.
  • Muscle Weakness: The strength of the quadriceps muscle group, which is connected to the patellar tendon, may be significantly reduced.
  • Kneecap Displacement: The kneecap (patella) might move abnormally or shift downward due to the lack of attachment with the patellar tendon.
  • Limited Mobility: The range of motion of the knee joint is often compromised, especially in terms of bending and straightening the leg.

It’s important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary based on the extent of the tear and whether it’s a partial or complete tear. A complete tear is typically associated with more pronounced symptoms and functional limitations.

If you suspect a patellar tendon tear or experience any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons online here or by calling our main office at: (908) 486-1111.