Patella Tendon Tear

Knee Treatments

What is a Patella Tendonitis and a Patella Tendon Tear?

The Patella Tendon is a fibrous band of tissue that connects the kneecap (patella) to the top of the shinbone (tibia) and allows the knee to bend and straighten. The Patella Tendon can be damaged or torn in several ways but, in most cases, the tear occurs at the point where the tendon attaches to the kneecap.

Many Patella Tendon Tears occur over time as the result of small micro-tears in the tendon due to overuse or repetitive strain. This is known as Patella Tendonitis and is also commonly referred to as Runner’s Knee or Jumper’s Knee.

In other instances, the Patella Tendon is torn during an accident or injury such as a slip and fall or when the knee is forcefully twisted while the foot is planted. This injury is common among athletes whose sports require jumping or sudden changes in direction and can also be referred to as a Patella Tendon Rupture.

Patella Tendon Tears are categorized into two groups of severity:


Partial Tears

The fibers of the tendon are frayed, but the tendon is still in one piece. This is considered to be Patella Tendonitis.


Complete Tears

The tendon has been torn into two pieces. This is considered a Patella Tendon Tear or Rupture.

If you have Patella Tendonitis the symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the knee or under the kneecap
  • A visible indentation under the kneecap
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Feeling of the knee “buckling” or “giving out”

Complete Patella Tendon Tears tend to be more serious and cause the knee to not be able to fully straighten.

The Board Certified Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at OSS Health have helped thousands of patients with Patella Tendon injuries return to an active and healthy lifestyle using a variety of treatment options.

How is Patella Tendonitis or a Patella Tendon Tear Treated at OSS Health?

Treatment for Patella Tendon Tears is usually determined based on the severity and location of the tear. In the instance of Patella Tendonitis, your OSS Health Specialist may recommend conservative treatment options to reduce pain and help the tendon heal.

These treatment options can include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Bracing
  • Anti-inflammatory medications

In the instances where the Patella Tendon is completely torn, your OSS Health Specialists may recommend a surgical procedure known as a Patella Tendon Repair. The goal of this procedure is to use small sutures to reattach the Patella Tendon to its original anatomic position on the patella.

How is a Patella Tendon Repair Performed at OSS Health?

At OSS Health, Patella Tendon Repair is performed on an outpatient basis so that you are able to return home the same day as your procedure.

During the procedure:

  1. 1
    A small incision is made in the area of the tear
  2. 2
    Small holes are made into the kneecap
  3. 3
    Sutures are placed into the torn tendon
  4. 4
    These sutures are then passed through the holes in the kneecap
  5. 5
    Tension on the sutures is adjusted to ensure the ligament is stable

The incision is closed with small sutures. Using our advanced minimally invasive techniques, there is very little surgical trauma and you are able to recover and return to normal activities shortly after surgery. Physical Therapy will be an important component of recovery after surgery, especially for high-level athletes.

In some instances, the tendon will be shortened due to the nature of the injury or how much time has passed since the injury. Donor tissue is often used to lengthen the tendon so that it can be reconstructed and reattached to the knee.