Also referred to as “jumpers’ knee”, patellar tendonitis is an inflammation of the patellar tendon. This tendon is a continuation of your quadriceps muscles from the front of your thigh, attaching to your tibial tuberosity which is a large bump just below your knee.
What causes Patellar Tendonitis?
This is most commonly caused by over training, or poor mechanics relative to the activities mentioned above. When too much load is demanded of our quadriceps, the tendon will become inflamed and painful. This results in the quadriceps becoming weak and tight.
Pain is usually felt directly over the tendon between the kneecap (patella) and the shin bone (tibia). In the beginning the sharp pain may occur only at the onset of physical activity or when the intensity level of activity is accelerated. As the condition worsens, pain may be present before, during and after physical activity. Kneeling and going up and down stairs is both painful and difficult. Eventually the sharp pain may become a constant dull ache and can even interfere with sleep.
Some factors that may contribute to a Tendonitis are:
The intensity/frequency of physical activity, being overweight, tightness in the leg muscles, misalignment of the leg bones, raised kneecap and muscular imbalances.
Conservative treatment for this condition often includes rest, anti-inflammatory meds, ice, strapping or bracing and Physical Therapy.
Physical Therapy is extremely beneficial for the development of a personalized rehab program that addresses muscle imbalances and tightness, proper mechanics/conditioning, bony misalignments. Physical Therapy also provides many other guidelines to return you to your normal physical activities pain free!!
What can your Physical Therapist do?
Your Physical Therapist will evaluate your legs to determine if there are any muscular imbalances that predispose you to putting too much load on your quadriceps. Your Physical Therapist will design a progressive program around restoring symmetry to any muscular imbalances in your legs that are found during your initial evaluation.
As symmetry is restored, you then start working on a program that is specific to your goals that will get you back to doing the activities you love PAIN FREE! Your Physical Therapist may also use techniques such as ultrasound or electric stimulation to initially ” calm ” the inflammation of the tendon.
What type of pain are you having?
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