Patellar tendinitis an injury to a person’s tendon that connects their kneecap to their shinbone. The patellar tendon works jointly with the muscles on the front side of your thigh in order to extend your knee. This function helps you kick, jump, and run.
This form of tendinitis is commonly known as “jumper’s knee”. Patellar tendonitis is most common in athletes who are involved in frequent jumping – particularly effecting basketball and volleyball players. But anyone can suffer from patellar tendinitis. In most cases, physical therapy is considered as the basic treatment for this ailment. Patients have to stretch as well as strengthen the muscles around the knee in order to heal themselves.
The very first symptom of patellar tendonitis is pain between your kneecap and the point where your tendon connects to the shinbone, which is also known as tibia.
The pain can be categorized into the following three phases:
- At first you will experience pain only when you are involved in any physical activity or do an intense workout.
- Later, the pain will worsen in the second phase and it will start interfering when or if you play sports.
- Eventually it will interfere with your daily movements such as when you climb stairs or try to rise from a chair.
It is a common overuse injury and is caused by repeated stress on the patellar tendon. The tendon suffers from little tears because of this stress. The body does attempt to repair the tears in the tendon but if the tears multiply due to increases in stress, they will ultimately cause inflammation as well as weakening of the tendon. If the damage persists for over a couple of weeks, it is labeled as tendinopathy. Risk factors are highlighted below.
- Physical activity – If you are in the habit of running and jumping, you are most likely to suffer from patellar tendinitis. Frequency and hardship in this activity further determine how much stress will be on your tendon in the long run.
- Tight leg muscles – If you have usually tight leg muscles, also known as quadriceps, and hamstrings, they may result in causing strain on your patellar tendon.
- Imbalance in muscles – If some of the muscles are stronger, they can exert harder pull on your patellar tendon. Ultimately this uneven pull can cause tendinitis.
How Do You Prevent Patellar Tendinitis?
If you have noticed knee pain during an exercise, you need to put ice on the area and take as much rest as possible. You need to avoid activities that cause stress on the patellar tendon.
Keep your thigh muscles strong to better handle stress that cause patellar tendinitis.
You are required to use your body correctly therefore take proper lessons or get professional instructions before taking a new sport or doing any exercise.
Doctors may prescribe over the counter (OTC) drugs if you encounter short term pain or inflammation. These medication includes:
- Ibuprofen (Advil)
- Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol )
If the pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid injection in the area that is around your patellar tendon. It proves very effective to reduce pain. But it can also weaken the tendon and may cause a rupture. So you should put in considerable thought before opting for this treatment.
Ongoing pain calls for physical therapy where you would work with a physical therapist on stretches and strengthening exercises to rehabilitate the knee and the patellar tendon.