Sports Injuries Patella Tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis is a common knee injury in sports. This overuse injury occurs in a variety of sports, especially ones like basketball, soccer, volleyball and track/field that put extra strain on the knee joint by jumping, landing and changing directions at high speeds.
This injury is caused by an irritation of the soft tissue that forms the patella tendon. The patella tendon is a ligament that connects the sides and bottom of the patella (kneecap) to the lower leg. It attaches to the quadriceps on the front of the leg and allows the knee to straighten. As stress on the tendon mounts, micro-tears and collagen degeneration tend to weaken the area and cause increased pain. Patellar tendonitis is distinguished from patellar tendinopathy, “jumper's knee”, because it involves an inflammation of the patella tendon. Patellar tendoinopathy pertains to the degeneration of the patella tendon.
Patellar tendonitis usually causes pain directly below the patella, along the length of the tendon. The episodes of pain vary from pain at the beginning of activities that subside after warm-up to pain during everyday activities.
Conservative treatment includes
Rest Limiting aggravating activities and resting the area reduces inflammation and pain.
Ice Apply cold therapy for 15-20 minutes, up to three times a day to control pain and inflammation.
Knee Strap A brace/strap that surrounds the knee and compresses the tendon may ease the strain on the tendon and alleviate pain.
Stretching Improving flexibility of the entire lower extremity with gentle stretches will decrease stress on the patella tendon.
Strengthening A lower extremity muscle strengthening program should be developed that does not increase pain and inflammation of the patella tendon.
Physical therapists are experts at designing rehabilitation programs that assist with the treatment and management of patellar tendonitis.
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