Patella tendonitis is a painful condition affecting the patellar tendon(also called the patellar ligament or anterior ligament) in the knee joint. Like all forms of tendinitis, Jumper’s Knee is a condition that can flare up and subside over a period of time. Inflammation in the patellar tendon is often due to irritation and/or micro-tearing of the collagen tendon fibers. When the fibers tear, they become weaker, inflamed and swollen causing pain and tenderness in the area.
If your Achilles tendon is causing you pain, you are probably walking with less pressure on the injured side. This puts additional pressure on the opposite knee and ankle and can lead to an overuse injury such as patellar tendintis or bursitis in the knee.
The patellar tendon connects the shin bone (tibia) below the (patella) kneecap to the quadriceps femoris tendon above the kneecap. The fibres of the patellar tendon encase the patella itself, allowing it to glide up and down.
The patellar tendon is responsible for extending the knee with the help of the quadriceps femoris tendon which passes down both sides of the patella and the quadriceps femoris muscle in the upper leg – a process known as the quadriceps mechanism.
Tendons, by nature, receive little blood flow. This prevents certain areas of the tendons from getting adequate blood supply in order to repair and maintain themselves. This makes the tendons prone to tendinitis if they are strained or overused.
Other conditions which can be a cause of pain at the front of the knee are commonly confused with patellar tendonitis. These conditions include quadriceps tendonitis, synovial plicae, chondromalacia, patello-femoral subluxation and hyper-pressure, fat pad impingement (Hoffa’s syndrome), and patello-femoral arthritis.
Risk Factors for Patellar Tendonitis
Patella Tendonitis is usually caused by repetitive use of the patellar tendon, but can also be caused by trauma such as a blow to the knee. This condition is most common in an athlete who is in involved in “jumping” sports such as basketball, volleyball and jogging. Other risk factors include:
- Activities that require sharp, sudden changes of direction such as soccer.
- Activities that involve repetitive use of the knees, such as cycling.
- Having diabetes, gout and/or para-hypothyroidism.
- Landing or falling heavily on your knees.
- Age – as we grow older, our tendons become more brittle and therefore prone to injury.
- Mis-alignment of the foot, ankle, and leg including flat feet, leg length discrepancy, tracking abnormalities etc.
What are the symptoms?
- Irritation or acute pain just below the knee cap.
- Tenderness and swelling in the knee cap area or just below the knee cap.
- Difficulty running down hills.
Knee Tendon Treatments
It is important to treat tendon injuries as soon as possible, as any activity or strain you put on your knee can re-injure it further. Though the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience of a knee injury can be overwhelming, it’s possible to overcome it.
The trick with any tendon injury is getting it toheal with minimal scar tissue formation. In addition, if you heal your tendon quickly yourchance of re-injury is much lower than average. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ is great at achieving both!
Allowing an injured tendon torest is always recommended. Avoid all activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible. It is difficult to rest your knee completely as it is essential for walking and daily activities. Fortunately, there are healing tools that can help treat your tendon and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury.