Patellar tendonitis is an injury to the tendon that attaches the kneecap or patella to the shinbone. The patellar tendon helps the muscles found in front of the thigh in extending the joint when running, kicking and jumping.
Patellar tendonitis is also called jumper’s knee which is usually common in athletes who frequently perform jumping actions such as in volleyball and basketball. People who are not athletes can also develop patellar tendonitis.
Symptoms of patellar tendonitis
- The pain can felt when starting to engage in physical activity or after an intense workout.
- Pain becomes worse when starting to play
- The pain becomes worse with movement such as climbing stairs or rising from a chair.
If the pain continues or becomes worse, daily routine activities are disrupted and the affected area is swollen or redness around the joint, it is best to seek medical help immediately.
- Improper and excessive training
- Weakness of the muscle especially the quadriceps, calf and the gluteals
- Stiffness of the joint especially the knee, hip, lower back and the ankle
- Muscle tightness of the quadriceps and hamstrings
- Ill-fitting footwear
- Changes in training conditions or surfaces
- Inadequate warm-up
- Abnormalities of the feet such as flatfeet
- Performing inadequate rehabilitation following a previous injury
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected joint. Avoid performing activities that requires a jumping, running and squatting. Minimize performing exercises to prevent the condition from worsen.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected knee. Place the ice in a plastic bag and wrap with a towel and apply on the affected area at least 10 minutes to lessen the pain and possible swelling. Applying ice on the area will not help if the person has an underlying condition.
- Wear a patellar tendon strap which is a band that is wrapped around the leg below the patella. It provides pressure to the tendon which spreads the load throughout the tendon and minimizes pain.
- Elevate the affected area above the level of the heart to lessen inflammation.
- When experiencing pain even when resting the leg, wear a brace to prevent unnecessary movement that will result to pain. Once it subsides gradually, begin performing activities as long as it does not cause pain on the leg.
- Seek the help of the physical therapist for some strengthening and stretching exercises for the muscles and the patellar tendon.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as acetaminophen to lessen the pain.
Considerations to bear in mind
- Avoid playing through the pain. As soon as there is pain in the knee, immediately apply an ice pack on the area and rest until the pain lessens.
- Strengthen the muscles because strong thigh muscles can handle strain to prevent the condition from developing. Eccentric exercises which are performed by lowering the leg very slowly after extending the knee is beneficial for the condition.