Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper's knee, is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball. However, even people who don't participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendinitis. Working with the muscles at the front of your thigh, the patellar tendon extends your knee so you can perform basic activities like running and jumping. Patellar Tendonitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone.

Injury Overview

1
CAUSES

Repeated stress on your patellar tendon (which already absorbs so much force) will likely end up in some sort of overuse injury, and this is the main cause of patellar tendonitis. The stress causes small tears on the tendon, which your body then rushes to repair. When these tears multiply, they can cause pain from inflammation and ultimate weakening of the tendon. This inflammation is not the main problem, as much as the structure becomes damaged from chronic stress on the tendon. This can lead to patellar tendonitis becoming a chronic issue that continues for months.  Other causes can include poor flexibility, low leg strength, and weak thigh muscles.

2
TYPICAL TREATMENT

Treatment generally aims to stay away from surgery and instead focus on physical therapy to stretch the muscles around the leg and make them stronger. This can be done through stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, as well as wearing a patellar tendon strap that helps to distribute the force away from the tendon.

Other less invasive treatments may include pain relieving medications. Other treatments include corticosteroid injections for pain, or platelet-rich plasma injections that promote new tissue formation and help heal the damage done to the tendon. It is important to follow any assigned treatment to the best of your ability, as your recovery and quality of movement after largely depend on your ability to do so.

On the rare occasion, surgery is advised to correctly repair the patellar tendon. Recovery after this depends on how intensive the surgery was and may take a couple of months.

3
HOW TO PREVENT IT

In order to prevent this from happening, be sure to never try to play through the pain, and always use the best form you can. If you notice that there is pain in your knee area, stop what you’re doing to ice the area and rest. Avoid any activities that put stress on your patellar tendon until the pain completely goes away. Also be sure to improve any technique where you do multiple repetitions. You may consider taking lessons or getting professional guidance when you start a new sport or begin using a new exercise machine. As always, take the time to properly get ready before any strenuous activity, as well as cool down afterwards. Practice to perfect movements used throughout the sport, and be conscious of the way your body is moving during high stress times. By being aware of what your body is doing, you will be sure to avoid any careless injuries caused by misuse or wrong movement.

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