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Knee tendon injuries

What are knee tendon injuries?

Tendons connect muscles to bones. They are made of strong, flexible bands of tissue that help your bones and joints to move when your muscles contract.

Sports injuries that affect the tendons are common in football, skiing, lacrosse, hockey, rugby, running, squash, and tennis. Most tendon injuries affect areas near joints and, although they can appear to happen suddenly, in most cases they are caused by a number of tiny tears to the tendon over a long period of time.

Tendinopathy, where tendons around the knee become painful and swollen restricting movement, is usually caused by over-use or repeated minor accidents. Tendinopathy tends to be a long-term (chronic) condition and is unlikely to need surgery. It can often improve with a course of physiotherapy.

Andrew walking & weight bearing 1 day after osteotomy surgery

Kristian Kley performs his new less invasive technique, tibial tubercle osteotomy, which allows patients to mobilise much more quickly.

Patella (kneecap) tendinopathy (jumper’s knee)

This is caused by wear and tear through over-using the knee. This in turn leads to tendon weakness and, in some cases, tiny tears in the tendon. It’s more common in people who run or jump, which is why it’s sometimes known as ‘jumper’s knee’.

Quadriceps tendinopathy

Less common than patella tendinopathy, quadriceps tendinopathy affects the attachment of the quadriceps tendon to the top of the kneecap (patella) and is more common in older people.

Kneecap (patella) tendon tear

The kneecap (patella) tendon works alongside the muscles in the front of your thigh so that you can straighten your leg. If the tendon is torn, it can become difficult to walk or carry out other everyday activities.

You may have a partial tear (where the tendon is only partly torn) or a complete tear (where the tendon breaks into two separate parts); this means that the tendon is separated from the kneecap and you won’t be able to straighten your knee. In some cases, a piece of bone can also be torn off.

Quadriceps tendon tear

The quadriceps tendon works alongside the muscles in the front of your thigh so that you can straighten your leg. If the tendon is torn, it can become difficult to walk or carry out other everyday activities. If you have a serious tear, you will probably need to have surgery to regain your full range of movement. Quadriceps tears are more common in middle-aged patients who take part in sports that involve running or jumping.

You may have a partial tear or a complete tear – where the muscle is separated from the kneecap so that knee can no longer straighten when the quadriceps muscle tightens.

Knee consultants

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