We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Patellar Tendon Rupture?

By Rachael Cullins
Updated Feb 19, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A patellar tendon rupture is a debilitating knee injury that signifies a snap or tear of the tendon connecting the kneecap, or patella, to the shin, or tibia. In most patellar tendon ruptures, the tendon is completely torn across its width, although partial tears are possible as well. Most patellar tendon ruptures happen to individuals who are younger than 40 years old.

The patellar tendon is part of a system of muscles and ligaments in the leg that allows for normal activities such as walking, running and jumping. When the patellar tendon is fully ruptured, the injured person very often cannot stand on the affected knee or straighten the leg. Symptoms of a partial tear include pain and difficulty performing any activities that involve knee movement. This tendon helps keep the kneecap in place, so if the kneecap is moving upward along the thigh, it might be a sign of a patellar tendon rupture. Swelling also is very common, and the area is often sensitive to touch.

Patellar tendon ruptures are relatively rare, especially compared with patellar tendon strains or other more minor injuries. When a patellar tendon rupture occurs, however, it requires extensive repair. It cannot be treated simply through rest, ice or compression.

If a patellar tendon rupture is suspected, one should immediately ice the knee to reduce swelling and seek medical help. Full ruptures require surgery to sew the tendon back together, and they necessitate wearing a cast or brace for as long as six weeks following the procedure. Extensive rehabilitation typically is needed after surgery to heal the knee back to proper working order. Rehabilitation can take six to 12 months, depending on the extent of the injury, and athletes can be sidelined for this period of time. Partial patellar tendon ruptures might not require surgery but still involve a great deal of rehabilitation, re-strengthening and rest time.

Injuries to the patellar tendon are often sustained because of overuse from repetitive exercise that strains the knee or arthritis. Ruptures are sometimes seen after landing on the knee at a bent or awkward angle. Sudden, quick changes of direction during running also can cause a patellar tendon rupture.

There are measures that can be taken to prevent patellar tendon ruptures. These include plenty of stretching before and after exercise, performing warm-up activities before physical activity and avoiding activities that place stress on the patellar tendon, such as excessive jumping. Anabolic steroid use can weaken the patellar tendon, making it more susceptible to ruptures, so the use of anabolic steroids should be avoided.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.