Exercises that help heal an injured patellar tendon include leg lifts, weight shifting and heal slides, suggests WebMD. As the injury heals, patients begin performing more complex exercises such as riding a stationary bicycle, upper body weight training and knee-strengthening exercises.
Patients with small patellar tendon tears can usually avoid surgery by participating in a physical therapy program, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. While wearing a knee brace, patients begin by performing straight-leg stretches. Over time, patients should complete more advanced stretching and strengthening exercises without a knee brace.
Patients who undergo surgery to repair a patellar tendon tear typically begin a rehabilitation program by using a continuous passive motion machine, explains WebMD. The machine slowly manipulates the leg without putting too much stress on the patellar tendon. Patients use this machine during the first six weeks of recovery before participating in more advanced stretching and strengthening exercises.
Stretching and strengthening exercises help strengthen surrounding muscles, such as weakened thigh muscles, to reduce strain on the patellar tendon, claims Mayo Clinic. In addition, these exercises help reduce muscle spasms and lengthen the tendon muscle.
Patients who undergo surgery to repair a patellar tendon tear typically recover within six to 12 months, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.