Patellar Tendon Pain, Tears, and Injuries

Patellar Tendon Injury Specialist

Patellar tendon pain can occur when there is injury or inflammation of the quadriceps muscle, or quadriceps tendon attachments. Patellar tendon tears can occur with knee dislocations, injury, sports or a degenerative condition. If you are experiencing pain or tenderness in the knee, bruising, cramping or a displaced kneecap, you may have a patellar tendon injury.  Doctor Benedict Nwachukwu provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan, New York City, NY who have sustained a patellar tendon injury. Contact Dr. Nwachukwu’s team today!

What is patellar tendon pain?

Tendons are strong cords of fibrous tissue found throughout the body that attach muscles to bones. The patellar tendon works with the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh to straighten the leg. The patellar tendon attaches the bottom of the patella (kneecap) to the top of the tibia (shin bone). The patella is attached to the quadriceps muscle by the quadriceps tendon. To straighten the knee, the quadriceps muscle, the quadriceps tendon and the patellar tendon must work together. If any of these muscles, ligaments or tendon attachments becomes injured or inflamed, patellar tendon pain can occur. Dr. Benedict Nwachukwu, orthopedic knee specialist serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs, has extensive experience helping patients with patellar tendon pain. He can help patients return to work and sport by treating their knee pain with the best and most up-to-date methods.

Patella Pain | Manhattan NY

What is a patella tendon tear?

The patellar tendon can become torn with knee dislocations, injury, sports or a degenerative condition. Small tears in the tendon can make it difficult to perform daily activities, climb stairs or walk. A large tear in the patellar tendon can be a disabling injury, making it impossible to walk. Large tears require surgery and physical therapy to regain strength and full knee function.

What are patellar tendon injuries?

The knee is one of the largest joints in the body and is built to withstand a lot of pressure. However, injuries to the joint can occur, causing pain and inflammation. Some common patellar tendon injuries are:

  • Knee Tendonitis: Can sometimes be called “Jumpers Knee” this occurs when the patellar tendon becomes inflamed. Knee tendonitis occurs most often in athletes who participate in sports that require repetitive jumping or running.
  • Patellar Tendinosis: Different than tendinitis, tendinosis is the knee condition that occurs when knee tendonitis becomes chronic, or recurring.
  • Patella Tendon Tear: The tendon tears away from the attachment site on the patella. Patella tendon tears can be partial or full, which is a complete tendon tear. This usually occurs from a trauma or sports injury. Chronic knee tendonitis can also weaken the tendon and cause a tear.
  • Patella Fracture: A break in the kneecap bone. Usually caused by trauma, a serious fall or an automobile accident, this condition causes pain and knee instability.

What are the symptoms of a patella tendon injury?

Pain is usually the first indicator of a patella tendon injury, other symptoms include:

  • Tenderness in the knee
  • Bruising
  • Cramping in the knee
  • Indentation at the bottom of the patella (tendon rupture)
  • Displaced kneecap
  • Difficulty walking
  • Patella that moves easily and is no longer anchored to the tibia

How are tendon injuries or tendon tears diagnosed?

Dr. Nwachukwu will obtain a thorough medical history, including previous injuries or if there has been a previous diagnosis with patellar tendinitis. He will then conduct a thorough exam of the knee to determine the exact cause of symptoms. Imaging tests such as an x-ray or MRI scan will allow him to see any tissue damage inside the knee. Once Dr. Nwachukwu confirms his diagnosis, he will formulate the best treatment plan for his patients in New York.

How are patella tendon injuries treated?

Treatment of patella tendon pain, tears and injuries depends greatly on the severity of the injury. Small tears in the tendon or tendinitis can be treated nonsurgically with immobilization, followed by physical therapy.

Most patients in New York may require surgery to repair a torn tendon and restore knee function. Outcomes are generally better, if surgical repair occurs soon after the patella tendon injury. Early surgical intervention can prevent the tendon from retracting into the leg or accumulating scar tissue that makes it difficult or impossible to repair.

Surgical treatment may include the repair of the patellar tendon, reattachment or reconstruction, depending on the extent of injury. For this type of surgery, it is important to seek out Dr. Nwachukwu who has extensive experience in treating patellar tendon injuries.

After surgery, patients will follow a specific and personally designed post-operative protocol that includes rehabilitation and physical therapy. On an average, patients can expect to return to sports and other activities within 4 to 6 months.

Latest Patellar Dislocation Research

For more information on patellar tendon injuries, tear, and kneecap pain, as well as the treatment options available, please contact the office of Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, orthopedic knee specialist serving Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs.   


HSS  Sports Medicine Institute West Side
610 W 58th Street
New York, NY 10019

HSS Brooklyn
148 39th Street, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: 646-885-8252

Office Hours

HSS Sports Medicine Institute West Side
Monday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

HSS Brooklyn
Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

About the Author:

Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, MBA is a board certified orthopedic shoulder, knee and hip specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), nationally ranked as the best in orthopedics for 10 years by U.S. News & World Report. His academic credentials include undergrad at Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, residency at HSS, and sports medicine fellowship training at world-renowned Rush University. Dr. Nwachukwu is a member of the HSS Hip Preservation Service team that brings together the expertise and experience of some of the best hip surgeons in New York City, NY and the USA. He is a professional sports Team Physician for New York Red Bulls and NBA Player’s Association; previously serving the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox.
Go to Top