Quadriceps Tendon Rupture
Feeling a tearing sensation, hearing a pop, and experiencing significant pain in the knee area can signal a problem with the quadriceps tendon of the thigh – namely a partial or complete tear from the kneecap. This condition is a tear of the tendon that connects the patella to the quadriceps muscles of the thigh. The quadriceps muscle is used to straighten the leg from the bent position. A complete rupture of the quadriceps tendon is a disabling injury. Keep reading to learn more.
Causes & Triggers
• High-force or awkward landing (especially from a jump)
• Sudden rotational change (as with running)
• Falls or direct force to front of knee
• Cuts and lacerations
• Weak, inactive, or degenerating tendon
• Tendonitis (inflammation)
• Medication and chronic co-morbidities (corticosteroids, renal failure, diabetes, obesity)
• Sports-related injuries (especially before age 40)
• Aging (after 40)
• Gender (more common in men)
Signs & Symptoms
• Rapid swelling
• Accumulation of fluid (effusion)
• Pain across the front of the knee
• Indentation at the top of the kneecap
• Buckling at the knee and inability to bear weight
• Cramping or weakness
• Drooping or sagging kneecap
• Inability to straighten or extend leg (usually signals a complete tear)
Tips & Treatment
• Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
• Proper diagnosis may include an X-ray or MRI.
• Don’t panic – not every quadriceps tear requires surgery.
• Non-surgical treatment may include rest, ice, a knee brace and physical therapy.