Learn More About Your Painful Knee Condition Below
Patellar Tendonitis of the Knee?
Patellar tendinitis of the knee is an overuse injury of the tendon that straightens the knee. Symptoms include pain in the front of the knee. Typically the pain and tenderness is at the lower part of the kneecap, though the upper part may also be affected. Generally there is no pain when the person is at rest. Complications may include patellar tendon rupture.
Risk factors include being involved in athletics and being overweight. It is particularly common in athletes who are involved in jumping sports such as basketball and volleyball. The underlying mechanism involves small tears in the tendon connecting the kneecap with the shinbone. Diagnosis is generally based on symptoms and examination. Other conditions that can appear similar include infrapatellar bursitis, chondromalacia patella and patellofemoral syndrome.
Treatment often involves resting the knee and physical therapy. Evidence for treatments, including rest, however is poor. Recovery can take a year. It is relatively common with about 14% of athletes currently affected. Males are more commonly affected than females. People report anterior knee pain, often with an aching quality. The symptom onset is insidious. Rarely is a discrete injury described. Usually, the problem is below the kneecap but it may also be above.
Stage 1 – Pain only after activity, without functional impairment
Stage 2 – Pain during and after activity, although the person is still able to perform satisfactorily in his or her sport
Stage 3 – Prolonged pain during and after activity, with increasing difficulty in performing at a satisfactory level
Stage 4 – Complete tendon tear requiring surgical repair
It begins as inflammation in the patellar tendon where it attaches to the patella and may progress by tearing or degenerating the tendon. People present with an ache over the patella tendon. Most people are between 10 and 16 years old. Magnetic resonance imaging can reveal edema (increased T2 signal intensity) in the proximal aspect of the patellar tendon.
It is an overuse injury from repetitive overloading of the extensor mechanism of the knee. The microtears exceed the body’s healing mechanism unless the activity is stopped.
Among the risk factors for patellar tendonitis are low ankle dorsiflexion, weak gluteal muscles, and muscle tightness, particularly in the calves, quadriceps muscle, and hamstrings.
It may be associated with stiff ankle movement and ankle sprains.
In the early stages rest, ice, compression, and elevation may be tried. Tentative evidence supports exercises involving eccentric muscle contractions of the quadriceps on a decline board. Specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles and tendons may be recommended, eg. cycling or swimming. Use of custom fitted orthotic shoe inserts may also reduce the problems and pain. Corticosteroid injections and NSAIDs are generally recommended by medical professionals as well.
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