Knee tendonitis is a common orthopaedic condition that is also popular by the name of patellar tendinitis. In most cases, doctors describe it as a type of trauma that affects the tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so you can kick, run and jump. Due to the specificity of the occurring way, the patellar tendinitis or knee tendonitis refers to the term of jumper’s knee, too. Jumping as a concrete movement in many sports types and disciplines, can be frequently seen in athletes. Especially if their movement and training job requires frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball, gymnastics. However, even people who don’t participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendinitis. For most people, treatment of knee tendinitis begins with physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee. But before going straight to the most typical and efficient treatment for this condition, it is better and recommended to say few more details about it. How does the knee tendonitis appear? What are the first and the main symptoms? How dangerous it is and etc?
We have mentioned that jumping is the main movement type that can cause you knee tendonitis. But, it is important for you to know that it is not the only one. On the contrary. Running is another risky activity that can lead to the condition. You must have heard how harmful running can be for knees – whether from your friends, or physicians. Indeed, running threatens weak knees to get the painful patella tendonitis. But here is a detail you need to know about the connection between the knee tendonitis and running. Sharp pain in below your kneecap is not because running is bad for us, but just because something is wrong.
But in general, knee tendinitis is a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair. But as the tears in the tendon multiply, they cause pain from inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When this tendon damage persists for more than a few weeks, it’s called tendinopathy. Today we are going to explain what causes knee pain when running, what makes it worse, how to ease the soreness, and give you research backed treatment options to get you to return to running pain free as soon as possible.
In addition to these, know that there are three main factors that appear to be quite risky for a patient – whether an ordinary person, or an athlete to end up with knee tendinitis. First of all, harsh physical activity. We have already discussed its affect on your knees. But also, tight thigh muscles (quadriceps) and hamstrings, which run up the back of your thighs, can increase strain on your patellar tendon. On the other side, do not underestimate the muscular imbalance as a common knee tendonitis risk, too. If some muscles in your legs are much stronger than others, the stronger muscles could pull harder on your patellar tendon. This uneven pull could cause tendinitis.
Recognizing the condition of the knee tendonitis
Of course, if you have even the least doubts to suffer from knee tendonitis, the best thing to ensure in this, is to visit a specialist. An orthopaedic doctor will diagnose you faster, especially if using X-ray. But some people wait too much till they urgently feel the necessity to go to a doctor. This is why the first symptoms and the observation of each of them are so important for the correct knee tendonitis diagnose. Pain is the first symptom of knee tendinitis, usually between your kneecap and where the tendon attaches to your shinbone (tibia). The pain in your knee may att first be present only as you begin physical activity or just after an intense workout and to worsen until it interferes with playing your sport. Eventually interfere with daily movements such as climbing stairs or rising from a chair can become daily aches for you. Pain is not a single symptoms that indicates to knee tendonitis. The area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation. You may also notice a crunchy sound or feeling when you use the tendon. The symptoms of a tendon injury can be a lot like those caused by bursitis. Complications are usually connected with lack of movements and disability to perform certain motions or at least with the regular speed you perform them.
How to treat knee tendonitis?
Now, let`s move the optimistic part of this research – the way we can git rid of the pain and all of the other symptoms that are common for the knee tendonitis. We may say it for third or even fourth time, but it is really significant for you to see a doctor before making even a single action against the discomfort in your knee. Once the diagnose is settled there are are many methods that can be prescribed for you and for your knee tendonitis case depending on your age, physical activity and health history, the cause of the condition and etc. Below, you will see the top common ways to treat knee tendonitis:
- Special exercises
The web is full of videos with them, but we strongly recommend you to contact a physician in advance. He would either approve them specially for your case, or will prescribe you a more helpful and suitable program. Exercises aim to restore your normal knee activity and motions gradually and in a natural way. Rehabilitation programs after surgeries usually include such exercises, too.
Speaking of this drastic measure, we need to tell you that it is rare for a doctor to prescribe it. The case should be very serious or the patient – in a need of a faster full recovery (for instance, if he or she is an athlete).
Shoe with a lower heel-to-toe drop may load your patellar tendon less, since running in a standard shoe with a 12mm heel-to-toe drop is similar to running on a downhill. If you want to experiment with lower-drop shoes, be aware that the load that’s transferred from your knee will be reallocated to your forefoot, ankle, and Achilles, so exercise caution here.
- Modern therapies
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (or ESWT) aims to selectively break down tissue to accelerate healing. While evidence to date suggests that these are a fairly safe and effective treatment for very stubborn cases of patellar tendonitis, there’s no data on long-term effects, and you’re unlikely to have it covered by insurance.
- Old, but gold treatment methods
Then include regular application of ice on the affected area – especially after speedy and dynamic motions, including running. Also, massages with aroma oils are said to be helpful for such a case, too.
Some of you might have already heard of this drug type, but indeed, ibuprofen can help you out especially with the pain. It is a great pain killer for knee tendonitis. It is thought that anti-inflammatory medication may help in the short term with acute inflammation and pain but may even hinder healing later on.