Patellar tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis

When you have Patellar tendinitis, you will feel the pain that gets more intense with movement. Patellar tendinitis tends to be more common in jumping athletes.

The function of the tendons is to connect the bones with the muscles, which ensures stability during movement. You cannot extend the knee or jump without the patellar tendon.

The Patellar tendinitis often occurs As a result of constant pressure on the tendon due to exercise such as jumping, this condition is called a jumper's knee. Let's learn more about Patellar tendinitis and how to treat it.

What is Patellar tendinitis?

The human knee contains four main tendons: the quadriceps femoris tendon, the popliteal tendon (Achilles tendon), the patellar tendon, and the iliac band.

The patellar tendon Connects the patellar bone and the tibia in the leg to provide the necessary stability for movement and support the quadriceps femoris muscle.

Because of the many functions of this tendon, it is more susceptible to inflammation than other tendons in the knee joint, which makes the term “tendinitis” refer to inflammation of the Patellar tendon In most cases.

Sports activities such as jumping put pressure on the tendons, so this problem often affects basketball and volleyball players.

Symptoms of Patellar tendinitis

The pain below the knee joint is the first symptom of Patellar tendinitis, which intensifies when the injured person moves. Tendinitis pain may not be visible except when driving, especially in the early stages of the injury.

With the passage of time and the increasing severity of the inflammation, the symptoms of the infection become more apparent as the pain becomes very severe, preventing the person from exercising or climbing stairs. In more advanced stages, the pain of inflammation becomes apparent even during the patient’s rest.

Swelling of the joint with stiffness and difficulty moving the knee may also be noted. Consult a doctor when one of these signs is felt and persists for more than two days.

Symptoms of Patellar tendinitis
Symptoms of Patellar tendinitis

Causes of Patellar tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis results from overloading the tendon, leading to inflammation over time. Overload causes small tears in the tendon. The body tries to repair these tears through an inflammatory process, which causes inflammation of the tendons.

Risk factors that strain tendons include:

  • Continuous running and jumping for athletes
  • A sudden increase in physical activity (long-distance running in someone who is not used to it)
  • The leg muscles are unequal in strength
  • Overweight
  • Congenital aberration of the feet
  • Chronic vascular diseases that impair blood flow to the knee (diabetes, kidney failure)

Diagnosis of Patellar tendinitis

The orthopedic doctor will ask about the patient’s medical history and his involvement in sports activities; then, he will discuss the symptoms in detail.

He will then perform a physical examination to assess the patient's injury and its severity, usually tendinitis pain is Located at the front and bottom of the knee, to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other causes, one of the following tests may be requested:

X-ray imaging

This technique helps exclude other causes of knee pain, such as orthopedic problems, as the tendons do not appear on x-ray images.

Ultrasound imaging

This test uses ultrasound waves to form an image of the knee and the structures surrounding the knee, it is possible to see the tendons and determine the appearance of a tear or inflammation along the tendon, but it requires experience from the examiner.

MRI

One of the advanced methods in diagnosing diseases of the knee joint is through the use of a magnetic field that allows for clear vision showing any slight changes in the tendons or cartilage in the knee so that the presence of Knee cartilage rupture.

Signs of Patellar tendinitis
Signs that may indicate the presence of inflammation in the tendons of the knee

How to treat Patellar tendinitis

The treatment mainly aims to relieve knee pain and strengthen the soft tissues around the joint to make it more rigid and able to withstand the stress applied to the tendons.

The orthopedist often starts with simple, minimally invasive treatments and reserves more complex interventions for the later stages of tendinitis, such as surgery.

Medications for Patellar tendinitis


Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen temporarily relieve the patient from his pain, in addition to the benefit of rest in relieving the symptoms of inflammation. Also, applying ice to the place of injury reduces inflammation and swelling in that area.

Exercises for Patellar tendinitis treatment

The benefits of physical therapy It is to relieve symptoms and strengthen the tendons in the knee; stretching exercises work to reduce muscle spasms and contribute to lengthening the patellar tendon to make it more able to bear tension and pressure.

Muscle strength exercises are also helpful in preventing tendinitis, as weak thigh muscles play an essential role in increasing susceptibility to tendinitis.

Placing a belt around the patellar tendon works to distribute the pressure away from it, which reduces the pain of the patellar tendon injury.

Treatment of Patellar tendinitis by plasma injection

Studies have proven the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in accelerating the recovery of knee inflammation and reducing swelling. Plasma can also treat various knee diseases, such as stiffness and arthritis. Read more about The benefits of plasma for the knee.

Surgical treatment of Patellar tendinitis

Severe Patellar tendinitis, unresponsive to other treatments, may require surgery to repair the injury, but this is extremely rare.

Surgery is performed to repair tendon tears, and can be done using Knee arthroscopy It is minimally invasive, and the recovery period after the procedure is shorter than in traditional surgery.

You can often return to your high-level physical activity about three months after the surgery; this period may be extended to a whole year, depending on how the surgery went and the severity of the tendon injury.

pictures of patellar tendinitis
patellar tendinitis (jumper's knee)

Prevention of Patellar tendinitis

To reduce the risk of tendinitis, follow these tips:

  • Do not ignore knee pain; stop doing your sports activities when you feel pain.
  • Strengthening the thigh muscles makes you more able to bear the stress that causes tendinitis.
  • Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and shoes for the sport you are playing
  • Proper warm-up before starting the sporting activity
  • Physical therapy helps in resting the muscles and avoiding sports injuries.

The main reason for Patellar tendinitis is the stress that many jumping athletes are exposed to. Therefore it is called the jumper’s knee, and the treatment of tendinitis depends on relieving stress and rest. Surgery may be performed in severe cases, and always remember that the best treatment method is prevention, which is done by strengthening muscles, and avoiding tendon strain.


Sources:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Healthline
  3. Massachusetts General Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions:

The patient is expected to recover within an estimated 3 to 6 weeks with appropriate treatment. Still, in advanced Patellar tendinitis cases needing physical therapy, the inflammation may last for months until it is fully cured.

If Patellar tendinitis is left untreated, it may lead to the development of tendon damage, which intensifies knee pain and makes movement difficult. In later stages, severe morbidity in the knee tendons threatens the patient's motor ability.

Some herbs, such as turmeric and white willow, can relieve the symptoms of Patellar tendinitis. Still, they are not considered a sufficient treatment for the disease, as herbs' benefit lies in only relieving pain.

Any activity that puts a load on the tendon, such as walking or running, may increase the severity of tendinitis and trigger inflammatory pain in the knee tendon.

Patellar tendinitis is not a severe disease, but neglecting the injury and not treating it may lead to complications such as tendon tear, affecting the injured person's movement ability.

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