Patellar tendon rupture

Case contributed by Dr J. Ray Ballinger


Running and tripped over a metal stake in the ground. Had severe knee pain and was unable to walk afterwards.

Patient Data

Age: 52
Gender: Male

The lateral plain film shows the patella to be riding abnormally high in position. 


The sagittal MRI images show avulsion of the patellar tendon from it's origin on the patella. Note the wavy appearance and surrounding soft tissue edema and joint effusion that is well seen on the fat-suppressed T2-weighted image.

Case Discussion

Tear of the patellar tendon can occur after intense exercise or spontaneously in patients with underlying systemic disease such as lupus, chronic renal failure and rheumatoid arthritis. Tear of the proximal end is most common as in this case. Tear of the distal tendon is the second common site of tear. Plain films can be highly suggestive when an elevated position of the patella is seen on the lateral view (patella alta).
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Case information

rID: 24642
Published: 1st Sep 2013
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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