Management of a quadriceps tendon rupture

The quadriceps tendon is a large-sized tendon positioned above the kneecap. A partial injury can occur during sports or those who engage in active lifestyles. The signs of the injury might cause steadily increasing knee pain.

A full quadriceps tendon rupture is considered unusual. It often occurs among individuals over 40 years of age and among those who have systemic conditions that lead to the weakening of the tendon.

If the tendon is completely ruptured, the individual could not straighten the knee without assistance and he/she could not perform the straight leg raise.

In most cases, the knee is swollen, and the doctor can feel the torn tendon right above the kneecap. An X-ray can be taken to check if the kneecap is impaired.

quadriceps tendon rupture

The signs of the injury might cause steadily increasing knee pain.

How is a quadriceps tendon rupture treated?

For a partial quadriceps tendon rupture, it is treated conservatively. The treatment options might include the following:

  • Knee brace or immobilizer
  • Application of ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Adequate rest
  • Physical therapy

A complete quadriceps tendon rupture necessitate surgery to restore strength to the extremity. Surgery is generally performed a few weeks of the injury.

The procedure involves suturing of the torn tendon back into its attachment point on the kneecap. Holes are created in the kneecap and loop sutures are inserted via these holes to pull the tendon to the bone.

After surgery, a brace must be used to shield the area. Crutches might be used but weight can be applied on the leg if the knee is kept straight. Many doctors will allow early range of movement exercises but must be done under the supervision of a physical therapist.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on quadriceps tendon rupture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how the injury is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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