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Runner stopped by pain in the knee area.

The quadriceps are the group of larger muscles in the front of the thigh that lift the leg and are vital for knee movement. The quadriceps connect to the patella, or kneecap, with the quadriceps tendon. This connection is necessary to straighten the leg and knee. Tears or ruptures to the quadriceps tendon can occur from sports injuries or trauma to the knee. Our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Farzin Kabaei, at Robotic Hip and Knee Replacement LA, can perform quadriceps tendon tear surgery at our medical center in Los Angeles.

Causes and Symptoms of Quadriceps Tendon Tears

The four quadriceps muscles in the thigh are attached to the kneecap by the quadriceps tendon, a fibrous, strong tissue. The quadriceps tendon is crucial for pulling the kneecap up to straighten the leg, and the bottom of the kneecap connects to the shin by the patella tendon. The quadriceps tendon is like a rope – it can fray and partially tear, weakening its strength. Disease, repetitive use and degeneration can all destabilize the tendon and make it more prone to tears or ruptures.

Complete quadriceps tendon ruptures can be caused by sudden trauma to the knee. A fall, blow to the knee or excessive strain can tear the tendon completely, disconnecting the quadriceps and patella. This is more likely to occur if the tendon is weakened or has partial tears or tendonitis. Symptoms of a complete quadriceps tendon tear include:

  • Inability to straighten leg or knee
  • Bruising and swelling above the knee
  • An indentation above the knee
  • Popping/tearing sensation when injury occurs
  • Kneecap may droop lower
  • Difficulty walking – the knee may feel unstable

If the quadriceps tendon is completely torn, it will likely need a surgical repair followed by physical therapy. Dr. Kabaei can perform a full exam and will determine whether you need quadriceps tendon tear surgery to reattach the tendon to the patella or repair the rupture. Contact us at our orthopedic clinic in Beverly Hills to schedule a consultation.

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