The Patella tendon runs from the base of the patella (kneecap) to a bony prominence called the tibial tuberosity on the front of the shin.
Patella tendonitis occurs when this tendon gets inflamed. This is most commonly seen in younger athletes who perform alot of repetitive jumping and running.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Pain felt directly over the patella tendon
- The tendon may be swollen and tender to the touch.
- In acute cases crepitus or creaking can be felt in the tendon
- Pain is aggravated by jumping, hopping or squatting activities.
- In the early stages pain may warm up with activity, however in the latter pain can increase during activity.
MAKING A DIAGNOSIS
A skilled physiotherapist will be able to diagnosis this condition based off your clinical history and a thorough examination.
Further examination can be required to assess for partial tears or in the event that more aggressive therapy may be required Eg: injections etc.
Initially tendonitis will present as a pain which is an indication of inflammation within the tendon. In this acute early stage REST is vital. Repeated stress through the tendon can turn tendonitis into tendinosis which can take months to heal.
Physiotherapy management can include:
- Soft tissue releases through tight muscles including quadriceps & ITB
- Electrophysical therapy to assist with reducing inflammation
- Dry Needling / acupuncture to loosen tight muscles and promote healing
- Correction of underlying biomechanical problems such as poor pelvic stability which can predispose you to this condition
- Exercise prescription: Specific strengthening and stretching to correct muscle imbalances particularly around the knee and hip.
- Advice regarding footwear, training loads etc.
- Taping to unload the tendon
In circumstances where conservative management fails there are alternative options such as blood plasma (PRP) injections that can be considered.
If any of this sounds familiar and you would like to make an appointment please contact us on (02) 9328 3822. Ross and Emma specialise in the treatment of sports and musculoskeletal injuries.