Knee sliced open by skate blade: a complete patellar tendon rupture in an elite long track speed skater.

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

Key Points

  1. Surgical repairs are evolving every year. It is important for therapists to understand surgical approaches and how they may influence early rehabilitation and mobilization protocols following tendon and ligamentous repairs.
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The patellar tendon is responsible for transmitting exceedingly high levels of muscular force and torque from the quadriceps muscle, and its integrity is vital for athletic performance. Patellar tendon ruptures are not very common; they are the third most common injury of the extensor mechanism of the knee, with the first two being quadriceps tendon ruptures and patellar fractures. The typical patellar tendon rupture patient is a male, under the age of 40, involved in competitive sports (1).

The goal of this case report was to review the surgical repair, post-surgical mobilization protocol, and clinical decision-making that helped a long track speed skater return to competition 11 months post-op complete patellar tendon rupture and break a personal best time within 1 year. The authors felt the unique nature of this injury and favorable outcome made this case worth sharing.

Patellar tendon ruptures are the third most common injury of the extensor mechanism of the knee.
Exercise programs that are altered due to the presence of pain may be underloaded and insufficient in facilitating the strength adaptations needed for sport.


During the Norwegian National Championship, a long track speed skater occupying the inside lane fell, hit the padding, and was bounced to the outside lane resulting in a direct collision with his pair partner. The two were skating at approximately

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