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Author Topic: What does a partially torn patella tendon feel like? How much pain is there?  (Read 148 times)

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Offline robocop

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Sorry in advance for the long amount of text.  I (M37) was playing soccer last night with KT tape over my patella because sometimes it feels weak and KT tape makes it seem more stabilized. After the game I went home with no soreness that was out of the ordinary for after a heavy game.

I showered, did some light stretches, and then slowly took the KT tape off with the intention of icing my knee. After I took the tape off my knee below my kneecap suddenly became very swollen, and what was even more concerning was that there was a line (that was less than a quarter inch thick) across the tendon about an inch below the knee cap that was even more swollen than the rest. It started to feel raw and tender so I iced it and eventually the swelling went down, but was still very tender. I went to sleep and woke up this morning and googled patella tear symptoms and one of them was an indention where the tear might have occurred. And sure enough I had an indention, in a line where that extra swollen part was.

It is still tender and sore but I have a full range of motion with it, can walk on it (although painful), and can do a straight leg lift while lying down with the other leg bent.

If I put all my weight on it, it begins to hurt. If I had a partial tear/rupture, how painful would it be? Has anyone had a similar experience? Is it possible to have an injury like this without a tear happening?  Should I not walk on it at all? Iím asking here because the knee doctors are closed for the weekend, I plan on meeting one asap.

I have seen pictures of what a complete rupture of the patellar tendon looks like with the knee cap moving up in the quad.  My knee is not like that, the kneecap is still in place.

However, if I feel along the side edge of the tendon with my finger, I can feel what could be a tear.  It feels like a chunk was taken out of the inner side.  Using my good knee as reference, I can see that the indention I'm feeling is not normal.

I am feeling pain, but it is not extreme.  it is more like a constant raw/burning sensation.  I am worried that my active life is now over.  Any advice, experience, links to other similar situations would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Offline John42

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Hi Robocop

Read the contents of your post - A RPT injury is very serious with a long rehab.   

You cannot guess what type of injury you have sustained, but it is essential that you get the injured knee seen by your GP or an Orthopaedic Consultant, in order get a MRI SCAN done ASAP, in other words don`t try and guess what`s up with your knee.

The only clue I can give you, that you would not be able to lift your leg if you have torn the tendon off your kneecap. 

Where do you live? Keep posting - ask questions.


Best  JohnK4221/ Manchester UK   
Ruptured Patella Tendon January 9 2003
Slipped on black ice.  Manchester UK

Complete Ruptured Tendon

Offline robocop

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Hey John42, thanks for the reply. 

I live in the US.  I realize that this is a UK forum, but it seemed to be the most active knee injury forum out there.

I have an appointment this Thursday (6 days after the potential injury) to see an orthopedic surgeon that has worked with pro and college sports teams here. 

If the patella tendon was only partially torn would I still not be able to lift it?
It is currently pretty sore and throbbing.  There are some physical tasks that I can't ignore because I have a 1.5 year old son.  So I am still forced to do some walking on it. 

I will chime back in with my progress and diagnosis so that others can find it if they are in a similar situation.

Offline John42

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Hi Robocop

Noted that you are seeing your OS - do you think that he is going to organise a MRI scan as we cannot guess what state your knee is in.

Let`s not kid ourselves, if you have sustained an RPT injury, you would not be able to bend / lift your leg - it will most certainly be encased in a full lenght plaster cast or a brace, in order that the tendon can heal itself - a very long period of frustration.

Suggestion that meanwhile you read up as many of the previous posts - make a list of questions and keep posting.
By the way, the Kneeguru webpage is managed and owned in the UK, but attracts posts worldwide in particular from the USA as a RPT injury is considered a Trauma injury-sports injury etc,
I live in Manchester UK and have lived with this injury for many years.

Best/JohnK/Manchester UK
Ruptured Patella Tendon January 9 2003
Slipped on black ice.  Manchester UK

Complete Ruptured Tendon