How to deal with patellar tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis is injury to the tendon that links the kneecap to the shinbone. The patellar tendon and the muscles found at the anterior of the thigh function in extending the knee for running, kicking and jumping.

Patellar tendinitis is also common among athletes performing frequent jumping such as in volleyball and basketball. Nevertheless, people not participating in any jumping sports can still develop patellar tendinitis.

Symptoms of patellar tendinitis

  • Pain becomes worse and disrupts physical activity
  • Interferes with regular daily movements such as climbing stairs or standing up from a chair.
  • Swelling, tenderness or sensitive when touched and redness of the joint

Causes

Patellar tendonitis

Pain becomes worse and disrupts physical activity

  • Repeated stress on the patellar tendon such as jumping or sudden movements
  • Tight muscles in the quads and hamstrings that cause straining of the patellar tendon.
  • Muscle imbalance

Treatment

  • Get plenty of rest especially the tendon. Avoid performing activities that requires running, jumping or squating to prevent further damage to the area.
  • Apply an ice pack on the knee for at least 10 minutes to lessen the swelling and pain. Avoid applying the pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite.
  • Elevate the affected area above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and pain. When lying down, elevate the leg on stacks of pillow.
  • Massage gently the affected area to increase the flow of blood in the area.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium to lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • Wear a patellar tendon strap which is wrapped around the leg under the patella. It provides pressure on the tendon and spreads the load evenly and lessens the pain. The patellar tendon strap supports the leg when performing rehabilitation exercises.
  • Wear a brace to prevent unneccessary movement of the leg and promote fast healing of the condition. Once the pain subsides while resting, gradually increase the level of activities as long as it does not cause pain.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises for stretching and strengthening. The therapist will provide exercises that will stretch severely tight hamstrings which is the major cause of developing patellar tendinitis.

Tips

  • Avoid playing when there is pain. Ice the area and rest.
  • Strong thigh muscles can handle stress on the patellar tendon. Performing eccentric exercises that involves lowering of the leg very slowly after extending the knee is good for the condition.

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