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Conditions, Knee, Sports Injury

Patellar Tendinopathy

Injuries are far from your mind when you’re trying to get your fastest time. You’re concerned with your breath, control, pace and top speed. That’s what the runner is fixating on, to get as fast as they can go. So, what starts as a little ache following a long run or a fast sprint can be ignored. 

You may not know that that pain can indicate something more severe, like patellar tendinopathy or jumper’s knee. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong, and pain in the patellar tendon is a sign that something isn’t right. 

So What Is Jumper’s Knee?

Before we get into the condition, it’s worth understanding exactly what the patellar tendon is. Tendons connect your bones to muscle, and this tendon connects your kneecap to your shinbone. It’s an important piece of biological engineering, crucial for jumping, running, kicking, and anything that demands your leg moves hard and fast. 

Sometimes, too much movement too fast can be a bad thing. Over successive use, the patellar tendon can start to become damaged by repetitive stress. This starts microscopic and can begin as the dull ache mentioned before. Your body senses the damage and rushes to repair it. 

However, repeated usage makes it difficult for the body to generate healthy tendon tissue at a fast enough rate. The result? Scar tissue clogs up the tendon, making it stiff and swollen. Though the body is doing its best to help itself, if the runner isn’t resting, the tendon simply can’t recover fast enough, making it rigid and painful.

patellar tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis primarily manifests as pain and tenderness at the base of the kneecap, where the patellar tendon attaches. This discomfort often starts as a mild ache that intensifies with activity, particularly those involving jumping, running, or squatting. The pain is typically sharp and localized, worsening with prolonged physical activity or when climbing stairs. Swelling is common, and it’s not unusual for the knee to feel oddly warm. 

Without attention or care, the knee joint will start feeling weak. Not only will bearing weights be complex, but it’ll also become difficult to stretch the leg out fully. At that state, the tendon may feel thick and, in another strange development, feel like it is split into different nodes when you feel the knee with your fingers. 

Chronic Patellar Tendonapthy

Patellar tendinopathy refers to pain and inflammation in the patellar tendon, typically due to overuse and stress on the tendon. Chronic patellar tendinopathy, on the other hand, indicates a prolonged, ongoing condition where the tendon has undergone degenerative changes, often accompanied by persistent pain and impaired function. The chronic form suggests that the injury has not healed properly over time and has become a long-term issue.

What Can You Do About Patellar Tendon Pain?

Patellar tendon pain may be a problem, but it is not without solutions. The most obvious immediate solution is rest. The problem started because the athlete’s exercise-to-rest ratio was inadequate. Additional rest can give the body the chance to address the issue. 

However, in many cases of patellar tendinopathy, the athlete notices the problem too late and is eager to return to their training regime as soon as possible. In these cases, the best thing to do is visit a physiotherapist who can assess the issue and develop a recovery plan that suits your needs as an athlete. They will likely suggest physical therapy to restore strength and mobility to the afflicted knee.

If you come to HelloPhysio, we offer a range of modern techniques to help break down the scar tissue and get your knee back in order.

Adjunctive Therapies for Patellar Tendon Pain 

One option is INDIBA Therapy, in which a radiofrequency is sent into the knee to promote cellular biostimulation, increase blood flow, and accelerate tissue repair. This can reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and encourage healing. 

patellar tendon pain

There’s also Shockwave Therapy, which is not as scary as it sounds. A noninvasive device sends soundwaves into the tendon, breaking down the scar tissue and enhancing your tendon flexibility. It’s also been found to encourage new blood vessel formation, giving your body more means to send that helpful healing blood to the area. 

Another option is Magnetolith EMTT or extracorporeal magnetotransduction therapy in conjunction with Shockwave Therapy. Electromagnetic fields in this technique stimulate cellular activity, giving your tendon a helping hand at a microscopic level. 

All three of these options are non-invasive, requiring no surgery, and when used in conjunction with physical therapy, can offer athletes incredible results on their patellar tendon pain. 

Patellar tendon pain is best dealt with swiftly. It becomes more difficult to manage the more the scar tissue builds up, even though it may feel like it’s slowing down your training regimen. So, if you’ve been choosing to ignore that consistent ache after every run, make your appointment at HelloPhysio today for early intervention. 

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