Patellar Tendinopathy is a condition caused by overuse; It may also be referred to as tendinosis or “jumpers knee”.
Patellar tendinopathy is seen in athletes who take part in sports such as tennis or badminton due to the high levels of strain placed on the knees. Also, if you have ever run downhill, you can sometimes feel the tension caused to the patellar tendon.
How is Patellar tendinopathy caused?
Overuse and high levels of strain wear away at the tendon, which is located in the front of your knee just below your knee cap (the patellar tendon); this, over time, causes damage to the tendon fibres. As a result, as the tendon tries to heel, it becomes thick with scar tissue. It is this that can cause ongoing pain.
If left untreated Patellar tendinopathy can eventually rupture. If this happens, you will experience a “popping” sensation followed by pain and swelling.
As well as daily activities and sport, other factors to be taken into consideration when diagnosing tendinopathy are –
Gender – It is more common in men.
Weight– Those carrying more weight will be putting extra strain on this tendon.
Core strength and stability – Being fit and having good posture and core strength will help reduce Musculoskeletal problems.
Age – Patellar tendinopathy is more often seen in those over 30.
How do I know if I have Patellar tendinopathy?
Symptoms usually start with pain or aching just below your knee cap. You may still be able to perform everyday activities, but in doing so, you will notice a gradual increase in pain.
Other symptoms of patellar tendinopathy include –
Stiffness after rest, especially in the morning.
Tenderness around the knee area. It may even be sore to touch under the knee cap.
Pain when jumping or running.
Treatment for Patellar tendinopathy
It is fundamental that you start treatment straight away. You will be able to start treatment at home with some simple tasks and exercises.
You should start by following the POLICE principle.
Protect – Find protection that won’t hinder movement, such as crutches.
Optimal Loading – Increase weight and flexibility slowly over time.
Ice – Use a cold compress for up to 20 minutes 4 times each day.
Compression – Use compression support or bandage to prevent further swelling.
Elevation – Ensure your knee is elevated above the pelvis to reduce hydrostatic pressure.
Don’t forget REST. Although all of the above still applies, make sure you rest when you need to. Rest is rust! As will all of the above, too much of one thing can hinder recovery, so rest when you need it but not for long periods.
Physiotherapy for knee injuries
It is also important to seek physical therapy to help recovery from your injuries AND prevent the injury from recurring. To do this, you will need a tailor-made exercise plan which your physiotherapist can put together for you, including exercises you can do at home.