If you love participating in sports and are dealing with knee pain or a knee injury, you may want to know more about patellar tendonitis. Anyone who has experienced patellar tendonitis will tell you that it can be extremely painful and debilitating. While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for patellar tendonitis, there are a number of measures you can take to speed up the healing process and reduce your symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at what causes patellar tendonitis, how to prevent it, and the best ways to treat it.
What is Patellar Tendonitis?
Patellar Tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is a common overuse injury in athletes. Repetitive motions, such as running and jumping, can aggravate the tendons connecting the kneecap and shinbone. Patellar Tendonitis essentially is an injury to the tendon that connects the kneecap to your shin bones. This is the same tendon that enables you to straighten your knees.
Symptoms of Patellar Tendonitis
Patellar Tendonitis is characterised by inflammation of the patellar tendon, which results in pain and tenderness at the front of the knees. Swelling may be present in the area, and the pain may be especially severe when kneeling, bending or straightening your knee. Jumping, running and walking may also be affected. If left untreated, tears may occur in your tendon.
How can I prevent it?
Anyone who plays sports involving repetitive running and jumping can reduce their risk of injury by doing gentle exercises and progressing slowly.
You can also take these additional preventive measures:
- Warming up and stretching before exercise
- Cooling down and stretching after exercise
- Wearing knee support when playing sports
- Doing exercises to strengthen the leg muscles and support the knees. Strong thigh muscles are better able to handle the stresses that can cause patellar tendonitis. Exercises that involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending your knee are particularly helpful.
- Avoiding jumping and landing on hard surfaces, such as concrete.
- Don’t play through pain. As soon as you notice exercise-related knee pain, ice the area and rest. Until your knee is pain-free, avoid activities that put stress on your patellar tendons.
What to do if you develop patellar tendonitis?
It is important not to ignore ongoing knee pain, knee injury or discomfort. Identifying patellar tendonitis early means the condition will be easier and quicker to treat, reducing a person’s risk of serious injury. Ignoring your body’s warning signs means you could cause increasingly larger tears in the patellar tendon. Knee pain and reduced function can persist if you don’t tend to the problem.
Recommended treatments for patellar tendonitis include knee strapping to reduce pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory injections or medicines, physiotherapy to manage the pain and inflammation or orthotics to support structural problems like flat feet. Ultimately, it is best to stop all activity that may be causing your patellar tendon to degenerate until the injury is healed. A sports injury doctor will be able to help diagnose your condition and suggest a suitable treatment plan to manage your knee pain.
Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore with a specialist interest and surgical expertise in lower limb conditions. He is skilled in surgical techniques to treat foot and ankle conditions, as well as knee, hip and thigh conditions. Book an appointment at our specialist sports and orthopaedic clinic in Singapore today to get on the road to recovery.