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Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon that connects the shinbone to the kneecap. The patellar tendon works with the muscles in the front of the thigh and is responsible for extending the knee which allows for everyday exercises such as kicking, running, jumping, climbing/lowering stairs, among others.

It is a fairly common injury in runners, cyclists, volleyball players, basketball players, soccer players and professional athletes. For this reason, it is common to refer to this injury as “jumper’s knee” although the reality is that it can affect any other non-athlete whose regular activity puts a lot of stress on the knee joints, either for work or lifestyle reasons.

In general, any treatment for patellar tendonitis is aimed initially at stretching and strengthening the muscles around the knee.

Symptoms

The most recurring symptoms of patellar tendonitis are usually a localized, shooting pain in the area below the kneecap that becomes evident when bending or demanding force from the knee. Initially, it becomes apparent during physical activity or at the end of physical activity. As the injury evolves, the pain interferes with the practice of sports and any activity that involves the aforementioned effort. The most advanced stage of the injury involves pain when at rest.

It is also possible to perceive throughout the process a feeling of inflammation in the lower area of the kneecap by the thickening that may eventually develop the tendon.

Although the application of cold in a localised manner is recommended, as well as the use of certain treatments formulated with inflammation modulators, including cannabidiol, a professional and specific assessment is always recommended. Otherwise, there is a risk of it becoming chronic, with poor tissue repair leading to a state of fibrillar degeneration or tendinosis.

Causes

Patellar tendonitis is a frequent overuse injury resulting from repetitive stress on the patellar tendon. The strain causes small tears in the tendon, and the body tries to repair them.

However, as the tears multiply, they cause pain due to inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When tendon damage continues for more than a few weeks, it is called tendinopathy.

If there is no adequate medical care, the problem can lead to inadequate tissue repair, which leads to persistence and chronicity.

Are there risk factors?

Risk factors include the following:

  • Unsupervised physical activity. Exercises that involve sudden increases in the intensity or frequency of stress to which the tendon is subjected. It is common in running or exercises that involve jumping.
  • Excessive stiffness. Tightness of certain muscles such as the quadriceps and hamstrings can increase the strain on the patellar tendon.
  • Imbalance in muscle tone. If some leg muscles are much stronger than others, it could cause an imbalance in which the stronger muscles pull on the weaker muscles. This imbalance could cause tendonitis.
  • Other chronic pathologies. Some diseases disrupt blood flow to the knee, which weakens the tendon. This is the case of kidney failure, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Tips for prevention

It is advisable to adopt certain measures that can contribute to the prevention of this pathology:

  • Avoid sports when there is pain in the area.
  • Strengthen and tone the muscles most involved in the area.
  • Improve sports techniques, which implies adequate warm-up and stretching.
  • Do not abuse treatments based on anti-inflammatory substances and turn to substances that modulate inflammation.
Prevention of patellar tendonitis

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