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Quadriceps Tendon Tears

The quadriceps muscles located in the front of the thigh are connected to the kneecap by the quadriceps tendon. The quadriceps tendon is a crucial structure that is essential for the proper functioning of the knee joint. It is necessary in order to straighten the leg and support the body’s weight during activities like walking, running, and jumping.

Quadriceps tendon tears are a relatively uncommon but serious injury that can occur as a result of trauma or degenerative changes. A quadriceps tendon tear is most common among people over age 40. The tear may be partial (a frayed or stretched tendon) or complete (the muscle is completely detached from the kneecap). Most quadriceps tendon tears are due to an indirect trauma. Untreated this injury can lead to severe disability and a poor quality of life. The goal of treatment is to restore knee function.

Causes of quadriceps tendon tears include:

  • A sudden injury or trauma to the knee.
  • Repeated stress on the quadriceps tendon, such as from jumping or running, can cause tiny tears in the tendon that can eventually lead to a complete tear.
  • Certain pre-existing medical conditions such as tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon) or degenerative joint disease can weaken the quadriceps tendon and make it more susceptible to tearing.

The symptoms of a quadriceps tendon tear can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include severe pain especially when walking or moving the leg; swelling, tenderness and cramping, difficulty walking, bending or straightening the leg, knee buckling and possibly a popping or snapping sensation at the time of injury.

Your LALL Orthopedics + clinician will review of your medical history, ask how and when your injury occurred and your symptoms. They will perform a physical examination checking for swelling, tenderness, and weakness in the knee. They will also test how well you can straighten or extend the knee. They will also order imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to evaluate the soft tissues. These tests can also help identify any associated injuries, such as a fracture or cartilage damage.

The treatment for a quadriceps tendon tear depends on the severity of the injury. In mild cases, nonsurgical treatment including rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) may be sufficient to relieve symptoms and promote healing. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation. In severe cases, surgery will be required.

When you or a loved one suffers with a knee injury that affect stability and function, contact LALL Orthopedics + for world-class care, close to home. We have offices in Belvidere, Illinois, Paramus, New Jersey and Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating knee injuries. He treats non-athletes and athletes at all levels of play from collegiate to professional to the Olympic level. Dr. Lall is a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who cares for all patients like family. Contact LALL Orthopedics + to schedule a consultation, receive the correct diagnosis, and undergo state-of-the-art treatment options.

At a Glance

Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS

  • Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
  • Triple Fellowship Trained
  • Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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