Patella Tendonitis & Patella Tendon Tears

What are they and how are they treated?

Home  /  Knee  /  Patella Tendon Tear

What Is Patella Tendonitis & Patella Tendon Tears?

The patellar tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects the kneecap (patella) to the top of the shinbone (tibia) and works with your quadriceps muscles in the front of your thigh to straighten your leg. 

The patellar tendon can be injured in several ways but, in most cases, the tear occurs at the point where the tendon attaches to the kneecap.

A direct impact or fall on the front of the knee is a common cause of tears. It may also tear during landing from a jump when the knee is bent and the foot is planted.

Inflammation of the patellar tendon due to overuse or repetitive strain, called patellar tendonitis, weakens the tendon, resulting in small micro tears. 

This is commonly referred to as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee. If this condition goes untreated it can result in a patellar tendon tear.

Patellar 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.

Complete tears. The tendon has been torn into two pieces.  This is considered a patellar tendon tear or rupture.

If you have patellar tendonitis the symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the knee or just below the kneecap that worsens with activity
  • Swelling

Complete patellar tendon tears are more serious and cause the knee to not be able to fully straighten.

The Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at OrthoNeuro have helped thousands of patients with patellar tendon injuries return to an active and healthy lifestyle using a variety of treatment options.

How Is Patellar Tendonitis or a Patellar Tendon Tear Treated at OrthoNeuro?

Treatment for patellar tendon tears is usually determined based on the severity and location of the tear.

In the instance of patellar tendonitis, your OrthoNeuro 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 patellar tendon is completely torn, your OrthoNeuro Specialists may recommend a surgical procedure known as a patellar tendon repair. The goal of this procedure is to use small sutures to reattach the patellar tendon to its original anatomic position on the patella.

How Is a Patellar Tendon Repair Performed at OrthoNeuro?

At OrthoNeuro, patellar 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:

  • A small incision is made in the area of the tear
  • Small holes are made into the kneecap
  • Sutures are placed into the torn tendon
  • These sutures are then passed through the holes in the kneecap
  • 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.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Knee Specialist Today!

If you have been experiencing the symptoms of patellar tendonitis or a patellar tendon tear, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you.

Knee Specialists

If you have a severe knee injury or chronic knee pain that reduces your mobility or quality of life, contact OrthoNeuro to schedule a consultation. Our expert orthopedic surgeons are on hand to diagnose and treat your knee problem.

Michael B. Cannone, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

Mark E. Gittins, DO, FAOAO

Orthopedic Surgeon

Ryan M. Palmer, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

B. Rodney Comisar, MD, FAAOS

Orthopedic Surgeon

J. Mark Hatheway, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon

Mark T. Kolich, D.O.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Keith A. LaDu, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

Jeremy R. Mathis, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon

Timothy P. Duffey, DO


Meniscus repair six months ago. Surgery went smoothly. Dr. set realistic expectations that have been met. Great team to work with