Author’s note: Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Chronic strain, overuse or misuse of a tendon leading to a repetitive stress injury, or a serious acute injury can lead to a weakness, tear or swelling of the tendon tissue resulting in pain and stiffness near the tendon. This is the third in a series of posts regarding tendonitis and the different parts of the body it can affect.
The common culprit when it comes to knee tendonitis is the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shin bone. This is called patellar tendonitis. It is very common in those who participate in jumping activities, giving it the nickname “Jumper’s Knee”.
Other common causes of patellar tendonitis are:
- Overuses, especially among athletes like soccer players and runners
- Sudden increase in the intensity of exercise, movement or activity
- Rapid increase in the frequency or training or exercise
- Coming back from an injury to the knee tendons before they have completely healed
If you have pain directly over the patella (kneecap), you have knee pain whenever you participate in activities like running or jumping, or you have swelling around the patellar tendon (rare), then you could have patellar tendonitis and should get checked out by your doctor or a physical therapist.
There are several treatments for patellar tendonitis.
- Rehabilitation: A physical therapist can show you the proper exercises and equipment to use in order to rehab your knee back to health.
- R.I.C.E.: Rest, ice, compression and elevation. Follow these steps until you’re pain free and feel ready to return to your work or physical activities.
- Anti-Inflammatory medication: These types of medications will assist in reducing the swelling in your knee.
- Stretching: Increasing the flexibility of your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles can help decrease the chance of injuring the patellar tendon.
- Brace: While there are still studies being conducted, some patients have found that knee braces have helped relieve pain and stress while they participate in activities.
- Surgery: This is a rare option for those with patellar tendonitis. It is usually only considered when an MRI reveals the tendon to be degenerative.
As with any kind of injury, you should avoid any activities that cause pain to your knee. If it hurts, STOP!