What Causes Quadriceps Tendon Ruptures?

Since my two instances of quad tendon ruptures, I have come to grow quite interested on what really causes these injuries but also on what people are doing that causes the tendon(s) to rupture. Now of course we have the common medical reasoning of what could be factors of causing ruptures which include:

  •  Injury
    • A quadriceps tear often occurs when there is a heavy load on the leg with the foot planted and the knee partially bent. Think of an awkward landing from a jump while playing basketball. The force of the landing is too much for the tendon and it tears.
    • Tears can also be caused by falls, direct force to the front of the knee, and lacerations (cuts).
  • Tendon Weakness
    • A weakened quadriceps tendon is more likely to tear. Several things can lead to tendon weakness.
  • Tendinitis
    • Inflammation of the quadriceps tendon, called quadriceps tendinitis, weakens the tendon. It may also cause small tears. Quadriceps tendinitis is most common in people who run and participate in sports that involve jumping.
  • Chronic disease
    • Weakened tendons can also be caused by diseases that disrupt blood supply. Chronic diseases which may weaken the tendon include:
      • Chronic renal failure
      • Conditions associated with renal dialysis
      • Hyperthyroidism
      • Gout
      • Leukemia
      • Rheumatoid arthritis
      • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
      • Diabetes mellitus
      • Infection
      • Metabolic disease
  • Steroid use
    • Using corticosteroids has been linked to increased muscle and tendon weakness.
  • Fluoroquinolones
    • This special type of antibiotic has been associated with quadriceps tendon tears.
  • Immobilization
    • When you are off your feet for a prolonged period of time, the muscles and tendons supporting your knees lose strength and flexibility.
  • Surgery
    • Although it is rare, quadriceps tears have occurred after a knee surgery or dislocation.
Looking back at the accidents that caused both of my ruptures they were clearly a case of over confidence and personal recklessness. In 2007 when I had the jet skiing accident it was clearly a case of wanting to get on the jet ski and then taking it full throttle without taking into account on how fast these water crafts can go. My skiing accident in 2013 was similar in that I was jacked up on energy drinks and I was skiing like a 20 year old in a 40+ year old body. 
 
You quickly become humbled when you act like a jackass, and humbled I got! Both accidents could have been easily avoided. Could my tendons have become ruptured in another way? I’m sure they could but it takes a pretty violent force to rupture the quadriceps tendons.

So recklessness and carelessness was the case for my injuries, however many reported quadriceps tendon ruptures occur by complete accident. There are countless of cases (many on the Quadder page), that tore their tendons by taking a wrong step or missing a step down a staircase. This is actually a very common accident for QTR. Slipping on wet pavement in a parking lot seemed to also be a very frequent cause as well. I invite you to share your story with me so I can share it on this site. Contact me and I will post your story.

About the author: Steven Gartner

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