Avulsion of the tibial tuberosity is a traumatic injury caused by a sudden, forceful pull on the knee, such as a sudden contraction of the quadriceps muscle. This can occur during activities such as running, jumping, or a sudden change of direction.
Diagnosis is made by physical examination and imaging. On physical examination, there may be tenderness and swelling around the tibial tuberosity, as well as limited range of motion of the knee. Imaging such as X-ray or MRI can help to confirm the diagnosis.
Other causes of knee pain and swelling such as meniscal tear, patellar tendinitis, or osteochondritis dissecans should be considered in the differential diagnosis.
Treatment is generally conservative and includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help with range of motion and strengthening. Surgery may be needed in cases where there is a significant displacement of the bone fragment.
Prognosis is usually good with conservative treatment. Full recovery can usually be expected with appropriate treatment.