Understanding Patellar tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis is a common injury or inflammation of the tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone (tibia). Your pain may be mild or severe.
Anyone can get patellar tendinitis. But it's such a frequent injury of athletes, especially those who play volleyball and basketball, that it's called jumper's knee.
What causes Patellar Tendonitis?
Patellar tendonitis comes from repetitive stress on the knee, most often from overuse in sports or exercise.
The repetitive stress on the knee creates tiny tears in the tendon that weaken it over time.
The contributing factors causing patellar tendonitis can be as follows:
- • tight leg muscles.
- • uneven leg muscle strength.
- • misaligned feet, ankles, and legs.
- • obesity.
- • shoes without enough padding
- • hard playing surfaces.
- • chronic diseases that weaken the tendon in the knee.
Athletes are more at risk because running, jumping, and squatting put more force on the patellar tendon. Long periods of intense sports training are associated with the jumper's knee.
What are the symptoms of Patellar Tendonitis?
- • Pain and tenderness at the base of your kneecap are usually the first symptoms of patellar tendonitis.
- • You may also have some swelling and a burning feeling in the kneecap.
- • Kneeling or getting up from a squat can be especially painful.
- • The pain may at first be sporadic, occurring only after sports or exercise activity. As the tendon becomes more damaged, the pain can become progressively worse
- • The pain can interfere with any athletic activity, as well as with daily activities, such as climbing stairs or sitting in a car.
What can be the potential complications from Patellar Tendonitis?
The patellar tendonitis can worsen without medical attention. As a result, you may damage your tendon more severely, limiting your everyday functioning. For professional athletes, patellar tendonitis can be a career-ender if left untreated.
What can I do to manage Patellar Tendonitis?
The treatment depends on the severity of your injury. Conservative measures to reduce pain, rest your leg, and stretch and strengthen your leg muscles are generally the first line of treatment. Your doctor will usually advise a period of controlled rest, where you avoid activity that puts force on the knee.
Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for short-term pain and inflammation reduction
These can include:
- • ibuprofen (Advil)
- • naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- • acetaminophen (Tylenol).
If your pain is severe, your doctor may give you a corticosteroid injection in the area around your patellar tendon. This is more effective in reducing severe pain. However, the Mayo Clinic reports that it also may weaken the tendon and possibly make it more likely to rupture. So, it's important to put considerable thought into this treatment and its associated risks
Another way of delivering corticosteroids is through iontophoresis spreading the drug over your knee and using a low electrical charge to push it through your skin.
The goal of physical therapy is to reduce your pain and inflammation and stretch and strengthen your leg and thigh muscles.
If your pain is severe even while you are resting your legs, your doctor may advise that you wear a brace and use crutches for a while to avoid further damage to the tendon. When you' re relatively pain-free, you can begin physical therapy activities.
A therapy session generally includes:
- • a warm-up period
- • ice or massage for your knee
- • stretching exercises.
- • strengthening exercises
- • Your therapist may also use ultrasound and electrical stimulation to ease your knee pain
- • A knee brace or taping of your knee may help reduce pain when you are exercising by keeping the kneecap in place.
Your physical therapist will develop an exercise program for you that may include the following:
- • Stretches.
- • Isometric exercises, where your joint angle and muscle length remain fixed during contractions which have been reported to relieve pain.
- • Eccentric exercises, which are squats performed on a decline board that is at a 25-degree angle.
- • Flexibility exercises for the thigh and calf
When other treatments aren't successful in relieving pain, your doctor may advise surgery to repair the patellar tendon. Recovery time from surgery varies. Some surgical protocols recommend immobility in a cast after your operation. Post-surgery, physical therapy will help you regain your functional level back to your pre-patellar tendonitis days
Telehealth to Your Rescue
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