Tendons are powerful tissue bands that connect muscles to bones. The most crucial tendon in the process of straightening a knee from a bent position is the quadriceps tendon. It may be difficult to walk or undergo any activities from these small tears in the tendon. Complete tear of the quadriceps tendon is a serious injury that may lead to disability. Surgery is nearly always necessary, then physical treatment is necessary to regain complete knee motion and function.
Tears in the quadriceps tendon are uncommon. They most frequently affect middle-aged athletes who engage in jumping or sprinting sports.
Types of Quadriceps tendon tears
There are two types of quadriceps tendon tears: partial and complete.
Partial tears. Even numerous tears do not totally destroy the tendon. This is comparable to a rope that has been stretched to the point where part of the fibers have frayed but the rope is still intact.
Complete tears. Either the tendon will totally separate from the bone or a complete rip will cause the soft tissue to split in two.
The quadriceps muscle is no longer attached to the kneecap when the tendon totally breaks. When the quadriceps muscles flex, the knee cannot straighten without this connection. Patients might notice a divot or gap if they feel the region above the kneecap, or they might experience severe swelling or bruising.
When there is a strong load on the leg with the foot planted and the knee slightly bent, a quadriceps tear frequently happens. Imagine landing awkwardly after making a leap in a game of basketball. The tendon tears as a result of the landing’s excessive force.
Falls, direct pressure on the front of the knee, and lacerations can also result in tears (cuts).
The quadriceps tendon is more prone to rupturing if it is weak. Tendon weakness can be caused by a number of factors.
Tendinitis. Quadriceps tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendon, weakens the tendon. Small tears could result as well. Persons who run and play sports that require hopping are more likely to get quadriceps tendinitis than other people.
Chronic illness. Diseases that affect blood flow can also lead to weakened tendons. Chronic conditions that might weaken the tendon include:
- Chronic renal failure or other conditions requiring kidney dialysis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Metabolic disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Steroid use. Increased muscular and tendon weakening has been associated to the use of corticosteroids.
Fluoroquinolones. Quadriceps tendon tears have been linked to this antibiotic.
Immobilization. The muscles and tendons that support your knees deteriorate in strength and flexibility while you are off your feet for an extended length of time.
There is frequently a tearing or popping sensation when a quadriceps tendon tears. Typically, pain and swelling come next, and you might be unable to straighten your knee. Additional signs comprise:
- A tear in the tendon that left an indentation on the top of your kneecap
- Difficulty walking as a result of the knee giving way or buckling
- If your tendon tears, your kneecap may drop or droop