Jumpers Knee Sioux City
A Brief Overview of Patellar Tendinitis
Patellar tendinitis, also called jumper’s knee, refers to an injury to the tendon that attaches the patella to the shin bone. The patellar tendon serves a vital function in knee extension by transmitting forces from the quadriceps muscle to the lower leg. It extends the knee with every step and transmits exceptional forces with activities such as running, jumping, and kicking.
Tendinitis at the knee is common with overuse or repetitive activities. Sports that involve jumping increase the strain on the tendon and can lead to tendinitis. Risk factors for patellar tendinitis include weak gluteal muscles, limited ankle dorsiflexion, and muscle tightness in the hamstrings, quadriceps, or calf muscles. The patellar tendon pain is common in track and field, high jumps, gymnastics, football, or basketball.
Patella tendinitis commonly occurs with chondromalacia patella, which is an injury to the cartilage underneath the knee cap (patella bone). The pain feels underneath the knee cap and can be very sharp with squatting, jumping, and straightening the leg. The patella slides in a groove on the femur. With overuse the cartilage becomes injured and swollen.
Repetitive jumping is usually linked to patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia. The tendon may be strained when the intensity and frequency of physical activity are increased. When people increase their athletic participation, they often overwhelm the tissue’s ability to repair, and the damage eventually creates tendinitis. This can happen with jumping or running. Patellar tendinitis is common with chondromalacia patella, IT band syndrome, meniscus tears, Osgood-Schlatter disease, and other knee sprains.
The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) remains an effective home treatment in the early stages of the injury. Painkillers like naproxen or ibuprofen may offer temporary pain relief. Allowing the patellar tendon to rest and heal in the early stages is very helpful. Trying to run through the pain often increases the level of injury and damage.
Therapy and treatment will utilize techniques to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance tendon repair. Specific stretching and strengthening exercises will address the muscle imbalances of the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles. Heat, ice, electric therapy, ultrasound, cold laser, massage therapy, and the Graston Technique are all treatment options to enhance healing. Combining multiple therapies and techniques speeds recovery and reduces the likelihood of tendinitis returning.
A patellar tendon strap is effective at decreasing the tendon strain during running or jumping. The straps are inexpensive and allow a person to continue with their activities. You should, however, ice afterwards to decrease post-activity pain and inflammation.
Patellar tendinitis can be effectively treated in the office. Consistent home treatments of ice, rest, home exercise, and stretches enhance treatment effectiveness. Long-term goals are to produce a strong tendon with balanced muscles to support the knee.