A ruptured patellar tendon is a brutal injury to go through. The patellar tendon is what attaches the lower leg tissues to the kneecap. The injury is devastating because without that connection it is impossible to get an extension out of your knee. If you can’t do that it means you cannot run, jump, or even walk. The good news is that this is not a common injury, but it is also one that needs immediate care when it does happen. It needs to heal with the correct length and tension, or else everything will be off. Immediate surgical repair is required with this injury for the best chances of a healthy return to activity.
Anatomy of Ruptured Patellar Tendon
Understanding the anatomy of the patellar tendon will help with the treatment and prevention of the injury. The reason that the patellar tendon blows is that it becomes under too much stress. The kneecap remains constant, but tissue from the lower leg is always changing due to changing strength levels and flexibility. If the lower leg is flexible and moving well, it will help to relieve tension on the patellar tendon. The fascia is also connected all through the quad and rectus femoris as well and therefore, if the rectus femoris is tight, it could increase the chances of a ruptured patellar tendon.
Patellar Tendon Rupture Treatment
After tearing the patellar tendon, it is guaranteed that you will need surgery. If you are an athlete, you will not be able to perform without this surgery and extensive rehab. If a ruptured patellar tendon is suspected, you should treat the injury as a medical emergency.
There is going to be nothing that you can do on your own to feel better. Icing will help to maintain the swelling and make surgery more comfortable, but by no means will reduce the pain. The best thing you can do is immobilize the leg and get to your sports medicine doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.
Surgery for a Ruptured Patellar Tendon
Surgery for a punctured patellar tendon involves attaching the tendon. The better case scenario for this injury is an avulsion fracture because it means the tendon is still intact and the bone needs to be screwed back down to heal.
To fix the tendon, the orthopedic surgeon will either mend the two sides or use a different material to bridge the gap. After surgery, the key is to limit the bending of the knee to help with the healing. After some time the knee will be stiff, and the tendon will be much shorter than you need it to be. A lot of rehabs will consist of relearning how to bend your knee all over again. You will also need to:
- Limit weight bearing for 4-6 weeks
- Wearing a knee immobilizer
- No running or weights for four months
- No sports for about six months
- Limited ability to bend the knee for three months
- No driving with right leg
- No physically demanding work for six months
- Overcome weakness in muscles on the injury side
Recovery Time for Ruptured Patellar Tendon
As you can see in the timeline above, the injury timeline for a ruptured patellar tendon is extensive. The reason it is this way is that you have to hit certain milestones to keep moving forward. You will not be able to run until you can walk, you can’t walk until you can bend your knee fully, and you won’t be able to do that until the tendon is healed completely.
If you want to speed up the recovery of this treatment, the best thing you can do is focus on the hard work that is demanded of you when going through rehab. It is easy to get lazy with rehab and assume that your body will naturally heal itself but this is not always the case.
Finding The Best Local Sports Medicine Providers for a Ruptured Patellar Tendon Recovery
Kho Health is the best place to start your search for a health care provider to help you stay healthy. The key to success as an athlete is staying healthy and making sure the injuries are dealt with appropriately. Having a relationship with an orthopedic surgeon that you trust is important.
Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Physical Therapist with any skill set you need. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, Kho Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.
If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions. From there Kho Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are injured or recovering from a ruptured patellar tendon.
The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number. Once you are shown the best local options, how do you know which is the best? Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that.
Skill Sets to Look for In Sports Medicine Providers
Skill sets are the things healthcare providers learn after they graduate. A healthcare provider can take courses and get certifications for different skill sets. These skill sets are valuable and help them approach injuries from different perspectives, so you understand all the details of a ruptured patellar tendon.
- Dry needling
- Joint Manipulation
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Functional Movement Screen
- Fascial Stretching
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Athletic Trainer
- Sports Background
- And many more