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Patellar tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis, or patellar tendinopathy – is a disease that occurs when the tendon connecting your tibia (shin bone) and patella (kneecap) deteriorates. Your tendon grows weaker and more painful and is less able to withstand ‘loading’ (weight on it), which impairs your walking and activity.

Patellar Tendinopathy Causes

The actual cause of patellar tendinopathy is unknown. However, it is considered to be an overuse ailment, which can develop due to repetitive stress on the patellar tendon. It might occur due to excessive jumping, which is why volleyball and basketball players frequently acquire it. When you land after a jump, the tension on your patellar tendon can cause injury and eventually wear it down.

While patellar tendinopathy is more common in your twenties to thirties, it can occur at any age. Additionally, it has been associated with:

  • Overtraining
  • Ineffective method
  • On abrasive surfaces.

A man with patellar tenidinitis holding his knee

Patellar Tendinopathy Symptoms

One of the most frequently occurring symptoms of patellar tendinopathy is pain or discomfort just behind the kneecap. It is more probable that you may feel a gradual increase in discomfort than a sudden sharp beginning.

Most of the time, when you first notice discomfort, it will come after engaging in physical activity. With time, you may have soreness when participating in an activity, which should lessen as you warm up. It might then escalate to a state of constant pain throughout the day’s activities.

When you first develop patellar tendinopathy, you may notice that it has minimal impact on your ability to carry out your normal activities. However, if the situation develops, you may discover that it becomes an impediment to your progress. It is possible that your knee is also sensitive to the touch, in addition to being painful.

If you do not seek treatment for patellar tendinopathy, your tendon may get inflamed and eventually rupture. You may have significant soreness, and your knee may buckle as a result of this occurrence.

Self-Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis

If you damage your knee, you should follow the POLICE protocol to treat the knee’s soft tissue injuries. Now, what’s that? ‘POLICE’ stands for:

  • Protect
  • Optimum loading
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Additionally, there are specific activities you should avoid during the first three days following your accident to avoid additional harm to your knee. These are exposure to heat, alcohol, running, and massage.

You’ll need to decrease the amount of painful activity you undertake, such as leaping and squatting. Your physician or physiotherapist may recommend alternate workouts less strenuous on your tendons, such as swimming or cycling.

Treatment Options for Patellar Tendonitis

The primary objective of treating patellar tendinopathy is to relieve the discomfort and inflammation that the condition causes in the patient. Rest, ice, and medicine can all help to alleviate the symptoms.

Additional treatment may include stretching and strengthening exercises combined with physiotherapy to return to your previous level of activity gradually. If your patellar tendon ruptures, you may need to have surgery to repair it.

It may be crucial to seek the advice of a sports medicine professional, such as an orthopedist or a sports physician. Your primary care physician may refer you to a physiotherapist, or you may choose to make an appointment with one independently.

Patellar tendinopathy is a chronic condition that does not have a quick cure. You may require a longer time of rest and rehabilitation to resolve your problems.

Preventions for Patellar Tendinopathy

You may lower your chances of acquiring patellar tendonitis by following these steps:

Don’t Play with Pain

As soon as you discover exercise-related knee discomfort, apply ice to the affected region and take some time off. Activities that cause stress on your patellar tendon should be avoided until your knee pain has subsided.

Muscle Building Is Important

Strengthening the thigh muscles makes them more resistant to the stressors that might lead to patellar tendonitis. In particular, eccentric workouts, which entail gently lowering your leg after fully extending your knee, might be pretty beneficial.

Make Improvements to Your Technique

When beginning a new activity or working out with exercise equipment, consider taking classes or receiving expert coaching to ensure that you utilize your body appropriately.

Patellar Tendinopathy Physiotherapy

To gradually strengthen your knee and leg muscles, you will need to see a physiotherapist to assess your knee thoroughly and then develop a customized rehabilitation program. It is possible to cure the condition with stretching and specific strengthening workouts.

Make sure that you do these exercises since they are essential for your rehabilitation. It is common for individuals to heal entirely if their tendon is not torn; nevertheless, your healthcare provider will better advise you on the length of time this will take.

Your physiotherapist may recommend that you wear patellar straps or braces to help support your knee while participating in physical activity. Furthermore, they may be able to give you extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). It is necessary to apply shockwaves to the affected area to reduce discomfort during this operation.

A man with patella tendonitis putting a knee support on

Patellar Tendinopathy Surgery

The majority of patients who have patellar tendinopathy do not require surgery. However, it may be possible if your symptoms do not improve after three to six months with conventional therapies or if your tendon tears (ruptures).

The purpose of surgery is to heal your tendon, and it is often performed by arthroscopy, a sort of keyhole surgery.

It can take approximately 6 to 9 months to recuperate following surgery, and your knee may never be the same again. Consult your physician or surgeon for further information.

Conclusion

This blog has aimed to outline the steps for patella tendinopathy therapy. It’s a complex disease to manage, and doctors often have to work hard to restore tendon load tolerance and minimize tendon discomfort.

There is no fast remedy; it will require time and effort. After reading about patella tendinopathy, you should stay motivated and inspired to work harder to reduce knee discomfort and address biomechanical issues. It is a wonderful foundation to help you reach your goals of regaining function and returning to sport.

References

  1. Morrison W. What Is Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)? Healthline. Sept 2018.
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/
  3. Mayoclinic staff. Patellar tendinitis. Mayoclinic, oct 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patellar-tendinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20376113
  4. Patellar tendinopathy. https://www.physio-pedia.com/

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