Pacifying the Pain – All about Patella Tendon Tears
Despite it being named a “Tendon”, the patella tendon is both a ligament and a tendon. It connects to two different bones, the patella and the tibia. The patella tendon works in unison with the quadricep muscles and quadriceps tendons allowing them to straighten the knee. The tear within the patella tendon is either partial or complete and can be a disabling injury:
- Partial tear- More frayed and not complete, (think of a rope that is not completely torn)
- Complete Tear- The tissue is torn into two complete pieces
There are numerous causes that can contribute to the tear of a patella tendon:
- Patellar tendonitis- inflammation of the patellar tendon thus weakening the tendon, causing small tears.
- Chronic disease – Chronic renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis, Diabetes mellitus & metabolic disease, etc.
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Most patients have stated that they had felt a popping or tearing sensation when the patella tendon has torn. Additional symptoms recorded were:
- Indentation at the spot where the patella tendon is located
- Shift of the kneecap to thigh, due to un-attachment
- Difficulty walking due to weakness in the knee
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Once the initial pain and swelling has subsided, physiotherapy treatments can be started. Physiotherapy can restore strength and range of motion. Depending on the intensity of the injury, a brace may need to be worn. While the brace is worn, straight leg exercises are often prescribed to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. As the patellar tendon heals, eventually the brace may be removed, allowing the patient to move freely with a greater range of motion, with more exercises being put into use as healing progresses.
Recovery from patellar tendon tears is possible, and most individuals are able to return to work and regular activities. Even though patients may feel stiffness in the region after recovery, most regain nearly equal motion compared to the uninjured leg. At Triangle Physiotherapy, we are able to dispense custom-fit braces to aid in the recovery of patellar tendon tears. For more information visit our custom braces page at: https://www.trianglephysiotherapy.com/services/custom-bracing