Summary of Patellar Tendinopathy
The patella tendon connects the thigh muscles to the shin bone. If the tendon is overstretched through excessive use of the quadriceps, inflammation occurs within the tendon caused a build up of scar tissue and overall breakdown of the tendon – a painful and debilitating condition.
Patellar Tendinopathy FAQ's
Excessive stress on the tendon running down the leg can result in inflammation, a build up of scar tissue and breakdown of the tendon. The common site of tendon degeneration is around the knee cap and around the point where the tendon meets the shin. This is often known as jumper’s knee as it aggravated by activities such as running and jumping.
The most common symptoms are tenderness and pain around the knee cap, with particularly aggressive pain experienced after running, jumping, cycling or other energetic activities. The pain often lessens during the activity but will become painful again when the activity ends. The tendon can swell and appear thickened, with pain spreading to other areas of the calf and leg.
Most patients heal well with this condition, provided they follow the recommended treatments and rest properly. Rehabilitation can take longer in the case of a long-term condition, but generally patients will see a full recovery.
The most common cause of this condition is overuse, with activities placing undue pressure on the tendon. It is usually found that in the case of patellar tendinopathy, early symptoms and signs of the condition have been ignored by the athlete, progressing to an increased degenerative state.
If the condition is identified and treated early, resting the tendon and abstaining from aggravating activities should lessen the effect of the issue. Ice therapy will treat the inflammation, with a knee strap commonly recommended to relieve extra pressure on the tendon. A home exercise routine will be prescribed by a clinician, tailored to the condition, and the clinician may review your sporting activity and the footwear used to establish if this may be making the condition worse. If the condition has been allowed to become chronic, treatment will focus around breaking down the build up of scar tissue, using massage techniques and stretches. Avoiding the aggravating activities or sports is essential, and the clinician will advise you on gradually re-introducing your body to the activity after a set period of rest. How long will my symptoms last? Most patients heal well with this condition, provided they follow the recommended treatments and rest properly. Rehabilitation can take longer in the case of a long-term condition, but generally patients will see a full recovery.
The condition is caused by overuse and strain on the tendon through a weakness in the muscles. The prescribed exercises will strengthen the muscles and relieve the pain and stiffness being experienced.