Tendon Tears or Rupture
Tears or rupture of the patella or quadriceps tendon can cause sudden pain over the front of the knee, swelling, an inability to straighten the knee and difficulty with walking.
What causes it?
Tears or rupture can result from direct trauma to the tendon, leading to complete of partial injury, or from a sudden contraction against resistance to movement.
How can I help myself?
Thinking back to the moment the injury occurred is important as it will be helpful to understand the mechanism. If there is considerable pain or swelling, offloading with crutches and a brace can help and also measures such as PRICE can help to reduce swelling. Pain killers can make the symptoms more tolerable.
When to seek help?
If you are having significant symptoms, particularly inability to extend the knee or weight bear, it is important that you are assessed as soon as possible, particularly if there is limited movement and instability.
What are the treatment options?
Once your clinician assesses you with a thorough history and examination, they may undertake an X-ray to look for a fracture, or an ultrasound scan to look at the tendon itself.
If a tear is identified, they may immobilise the knee and organise an MRI to define the injury further. In partial tears, conservative management may be appropriate with possibly a PRP injection, but in complete tears, a surgical treatment may be needed.