Skip to Content

Patellar Tendon Repair


Patellar tendon repair is surgery to fix your torn patellar tendon. You may have pain or swelling in the surgery area. These should get better within a few days. Your knee may also be stiff or sore for a few weeks. Knee movement will be limited at first. You should be able to move your knee more easily within a few weeks.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your toes feel numb, tingly, cool, and are pale.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You have severe pain.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have more pain or trouble moving, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antibiotics prevent or treat a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for the surgery area as directed:

Carefully wash the area with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. If you have pieces of medical tape over your incision, do not pull them off. They will start to peel off on their own within 2 weeks.


  • Elevate (raise) your knee above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your leg on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably. Do not put the pillow directly under your knee.
    Elevate Leg
  • Apply ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your knee. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Use assistive devices as directed:

  • You may need to use crutches or a cane for support when you walk. These devices help decrease stress and strain on your knee. You may need to limit the amount of weight you put on your knee. Ask for more information about how to use crutches or a cane correctly.
    Walking with Crutches
  • You may need to wear a brace, splint, or cast after surgery. These will help protect your knee and keep it from moving so it can heal properly. Ask for more information about how to care for your brace, splint, or cast.

Go to physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

You may need to return to have your wound checked or stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.