What is a quadriceps tendon rupture?

The quadriceps femoris, more commonly known as quadriceps, is a group of four muscles found on the anterior (front) thigh. These muscles begin at the hip and adjoin with each other to form a tendon attached to the patella (kneecap). The quadriceps tendon works in concert with the quadriceps muscles and the patellar tendon to straighten and bend the knee. When a substantial force is placed on the knee causing involuntary flexion, the quadriceps tendon stretches and can tear, either partially or completely. This rare and often serious condition is generally found among active middle-aged and older patients. Several pre-existing conditions, such as inflammation of the quadriceps tendon, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes, can lead to the weakening of the quadriceps tendon thereby increasing the risk of a possible quadriceps tendon rupture. Steroids and certain antibiotics can also weaken the quadriceps tendon.

Quadriceps | Manhattan NY

What is the treatment for a quadriceps tendon rupture?

For patients that experience a partial quadriceps tendon tear, conservative therapies can be used to heal the injury. However, in the event of a complete quadriceps tendon rupture, or if conservative therapy is unsuccessful, surgical repair of the quadriceps tendon may be required. The goal of surgically repairing the quadriceps tendon is to restore quadriceps muscle strength and restabilize the knee joint overall. A quadriceps tendon repair is time-sensitive to prevent scar tissue formation from shortening the tendon. Dr. Answorth A. Allen, orthopedic knee surgeon, treats patients in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, Long Island and surrounding areas who have experienced a quadriceps tendon rupture and are in need of a quadriceps tendon repair.

How is a quadriceps tendon repair performed?

Dr. Allen typically performs a quadriceps tendon repair as an outpatient surgery which eliminates the need for an overnight hospital stay; however, Dr. Allen will evaluate your medical history, the severity of the injury, and intra-operative findings to make this determination. To begin this minimally invasive surgical procedure, Dr. Allen makes a small incision over the patella near the area of concern. The tendon tear is examined, and the damaged portions are removed. The repaired tendon is fastened to the patella using special surgical anchors that are secured within the bone. This is a fairly new surgical technique and studies have shown this to be one of the strongest methods for repairing the tendon with the best recovery outcomes.

On occasion, Dr. Allen may use a similar minimally invasive approach involving small holes in the patella. This technique uses sutures through these holes to reattach and secure the quadriceps tendon. Dr. Allen may employ this method if a significant amount of time has passed between the injury and the surgical repair or if scar tissue has shortened the quadriceps tendon.

How long is the recovery after quadriceps tendon repair?

The recovery period following a quadriceps tendon repair is determined by the specific surgical technique performed by Dr. Allen as well as the severity of the injury. Patients in New York can typically expect to wear a knee brace, or another immobilization device, for 6-8 weeks following surgery to allow the tendon to properly heal to the bone. A combination of rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications is recommended for pain and inflammation management. Dr. Allen will recommend beginning a physical rehabilitation program typically at 4 weeks post-op.  He may also recommend a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine to assist with motion while protecting the repair. The key to a patient’s recovery is adhering to and completing a physical therapy program to restore knee range of motion. If Dr. Allen’s post-operative care instructions are carefully followed, most patients in New York can expect a full recovery with a return to normal daily activities in approximately 4-6 months.

Quadriceps Tendon Surgeon

A quadriceps tendon rupture is a rare condition affecting middle-aged or older patients, often with preexisting conditions. Partial tears can be treated conservatively, however, complete tears often require surgical repair. Orthopedic knee surgeon Doctor Answorth Allen provides diagnosis and treatment for patients in Manhattan, New York City, Westchester, Long Island and surrounding areas who have experienced a quadriceps tendon injury. Contact Dr. Allen’s team today!