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Patella Tendon Repair

The patella tendon that is attached to the kneecap and the shin bone can rupture. When it is working normally it is going to help the tendon and muscle of the quadriceps to move the knee and straighten it. While most tears to the patella occur for middle aged people who take part in sports, that isn’t always the case.

The most common resources for such a tear is the result of sports where a great deal of running and jumping are involved. This can result in the patella tendon rupturing. Other causes can include a fall or when you re involved in an accident where the knee takes a harsh blow. Inflammation due to patellar tendonitis can also be underlying factors. Any tear of the patella causes it to lose the anchor support it has with the tibia and thigh.


See your doctor if you have any type of knee pain or hear sounds like cracking or grinding when you move it. Your doctor will complete an exam, look at your medical history, and refer you for testing. You may be asked to take an X-Ray and an MRI so the doctor can get a good look at the tendon and the position of your kneecap.


Non-Surgical Treatment

Your doctor may try the use of medications including steroids and pain medications if you have a patella tear. This can help to make it stronger and to help it to heal. You will need to limit your movements and avoid standing for long periods of time. Otherwise, the problem can get worse and you will experience swelling. There is also the risk of the knee buckling under you because it is lacking support.

You may be asked to wear a brace for several weeks in order to help support the knee. This will also prevent the kneecap from moving where it shouldn’t be. Physical therapy is often recommended to help improve range of motion. It will also help the knee to get stronger.

The type of treatment will depend on the type of patella tear. It can be partial where only some of the fibers located in the tendon have been torn. The soft tissues though are all still intact. When there is a complete tear, the soften tissues have been damaged and disconnected to where they are now in two pieces instead of one.


There are times when such treatment isn’t enough to resolve the problem. When that is the case, patella tendon repair surgery is often recommended. The surgery doesn’t take very long and most patients go home the same day. This tendon is located outside the joint and the surgery involves reattaching the tendon that was torn to the kneecap. This will allow it to heal and the patient can regain normal function in time.

The patient will be given anesthesia and an incision is made on the front of the knee. This allows the tendon rupture to be accessed. Holes are then drilled into the patella and the use of sutures is going to help to tie the tendon in place. They will actually be threaded through those holes to hold them securely in place. If severe damage has occurred, the patellar tendon may be too short to reattach it easily. When this is the case, donor tissue may be needed to make the tendon longer.

Severe damage can make the patellar tendon very short, and in such cases reattachment will be difficult. Your surgeon may attach a tissue taken from a donor (allograft) to lengthen the tendon.



There are potential risks to be aware of with patella tendon repair. Sometimes, patients don’t regain strength or range of motion even after the tendon has been fixed. There is also the risk of the tendon detaching again due to the physical activities the person engages in. There is a risk of infection at the incision location and blood clots may be observed. It is important to give the tendon about six months to fully heal. You may need to wear a brace for this timeframe.

Other Conditions

Proudly serving patients across New Jersey and Bergen County from our office in Hackensack. Whether you are in Jersey City, Rutherford, Garfield, Lodi, Ridgewood, Nutley, or Englewood, NJ, we look forward to addressing your questions and providing you with the treatment you need.

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