Tendons are strong bands of connective tissue that attach your muscles to your bones. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap, also known as the patella, to the shin bone. This tendon works with other tendons and muscles around the knee to straighten your leg.
Injuries that occur while the knee is bent can cause the patellar tendon to tear partially or completely. If you experience a knee injury, the team at Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can help you evaluate the severity of the tear and form a treatment plan that fits your needs.
Treating Patellar Tendon Tears
For smaller partial tears, nonsurgical treatments can be very effective. More serious tears will likely require surgical treatment. Your doctor can go over your treatment options during a consultation appointment. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible after a tendon injury to prevent the tendon from contracting or forming scar tissue around the area of injury.
When a tear in the tendon is very small, nonsurgical treatments can be effective. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace and use crutches to limit movement of the knee for a while. Medication can often help control swelling and discomfort.
Once the initial swelling and pain after the injury have subsided, physical therapy will help you strengthen the muscles that help you straighten your leg. Our staff works with some of the best physical therapists in the area to ensure that you receive the best results from treatment.
Most tendon injuries will require surgery, which usually allows patients to regain full or near-full range of motion in the affected knee, especially if surgery is performed as soon as possible after the injury. You will likely receive regional anesthesia (to numb the lower half of the body) or full general anesthesia so that you can sleep throughout the procedure.
To repair a full patellar tendon tear, the surgeon will use special sutures to reattach the tendon to the bone. These sutures are strategically placed to create the right amount of pressure across the knee, allowing the sutured tendon to function just like an uninjured knee. If the tendon has already started to shrink away from the kneecap, you may need a tissue graft to help the tendon reach the bone.
During the recovery period, you will likely have to wear a brace or cast and crutches so that the kneecap can heal in the correct position. After an initial healing period, you will be able to start strengthening exercises to restore your range of motion. Physical therapy and post-surgery rehab are crucial for returning to a full range of motion after surgery.
Patellar Tendon Treatments in Marin County, CA
If you experience a knee injury, contact our office in Novato, CA. Our orthopedic specialists are experts at diagnosing knee problems and finding the most effective, least invasive treatment plan possible. Feel free to contact our office at (415) 492-1600 for more information or to schedule an appointment today.