The quadriceps muscles are the large group of muscle on the front of your thigh that are responsible for fully extending the leg. There are four muscles of the quadriceps that come together to a central tendon that attach to the top of the patella (knee cap). Partial tears of the quadriceps tendon can make it difficult to walk or participate in sport. Full rupture of the quadriceps tendon is a debilitating injury and requires early surgical intervention to restore the extensor mechanism of the knee.
Initial treatment consists of medication and ice to relieve the pain. The patient is often placed on crutches to assist with walking. An MRI is often ordered to evaluate the integrity of the tendon. Surgery to repair the ruptured tendon is usually recommended within three weeks of the initial injury. Following surgery, the patient is referred to outpatient physical therapy and should expect approximately four to six months of formal physical therapy to restore pre-surgical function. With early and appropriate surgical intervention, patients are typically able to return to their pre-injury level of competition.