Patellar tendon ruptures, as well as quadriceps tendon ruptures, are painful and significantly limit function. Most of the time, these are from a traumatic event of some sort – jumping, landing, cutting, an awkward fall just to name a few. To get your life and your function back, you definitely need surgery to get it fixed. After surgery though, look no further than the expert sports physical therapists at SSOR to get you well again.
Physical Therapy after Patellar Tendon Rupture
For the most part, you’ll be in a knee brace, locked straight (or, in “extension”) for about 6 weeks. During this time, you’ll have crutches and you really can’t do a whole lot. You should do hip exercises to keep those muscles strong and do “quadriceps setting” exercises (basically, tightening your thigh muscles) to keep the quads working and to minimize atrophy. Your motion is typically restricted up to 60° for the first six weeks so as to not stretch the repair. After the initial 6-week period is over, you’ll begin a progressive program of range of motion and strengthening. That knee will be stiff, but rest assured, you will see the value in physical therapy at SSOR because we do a ton of soft tissue work and joint mobilizations to reduce your pain and maximize your function. In fact, if you are getting physical therapy elsewhere and your physical therapist isn’t locked on you with hands-on work, it’s time to get a new physical therapist.
Quadriceps “Setting.” Tightening the thigh muscle in the early post-operative period helps improve quadriceps function.
Progressive strengthening will take place over the next several months. Depending on your desired level of activity, it may take 4-6 months or longer to return. Every person is different, so it’s tough to predict until we see you. The most common issue with this injury is just stiffness at the end range of motion. With consistent physical therapy and commitment to a home program, you should have a fantastic outcome.
It would be a privilege to serve you and partner with you in your care after a patellar tendon rupture. We have locations in Prairie Village and Overland Park to serve you. Give us a call!