Are You On Your Way Towards Patellar Tendonitis?
The Truth About Jumper’s Knee
Patellar tendonitis is a condition that is distinguished by pain that aggravates the tendons that connect the patella (or kneecap) to the tibia (known as the shinbone.) The patellar tendon’s main job is to work together with the quadriceps muscle and the quadriceps tendon, to allow your knee to extend, and these important tendons generate the strength necessary to perform this critical motion.
A healthy patellar tendon is crucial for all ranges of physically active people, particularly athletes, because this tendon is used when a person is jumping, running, kicking a ball, or pedaling a bicycle. The patellar tendon, like other tendons, is made of strong fiber like chords. These chords are encircled by a lining of elaborate vessels which source nutrition to the tendon. When nutrition is not reaching the tendon, inflammation and pain result.
What Brings About Patellar Tendonitis?
As is the case with all tendonitis, patellar tendonitis manifests itself because of overuse, or repetitive stress. When the patellar tendon is overloaded, particularly during physical training, the tendons experience stress trying to keep up. This strain results in small tears in the tendon, which induces the body’s natural response to heal itself, by sending more nutrients via the blood supply channels.
Typically, the tendon can’t combat the repetitive stress activity, so inflammation and tenderness develop. Patellar tendonitis is a particularly distressing form of tendonitis. Many patients report that the pain will grow until it becomes a constant, dull pain that is ever present.
The pain becomes so intrusive some individuals are unable to sleep. Patellar tendonitis, more often than not, occurs in athletes who have to jump frequently in sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball. As a result of the association with pain felt in the knee while jumping, this condition is often called the jumper’s knee. The same is true for it’s twin, “runner’s knee.”
There are many ways to injure the patellar tendon. The most obvious ways being to fall hard on the front part of the knee, or for an object to strike it. This unexpected trauma will afflict and inflame the tendon temporarily, but it does not usually produce the micro-tears and severity of inflammation found in long-term injury.
Sudden acute stress, however, is not as common a cause as repetitive stress related patellar tendonitis. In some ways, sudden trauma is an easier cause of patellar tendonitis to recover from, because it does not entail tearing, which produces scar tissue. Scar tissue will make the affected area more stiff and rigid, decrease flexibility, and result in a more lengthy healing process. It is not unusual for “normal” healing periods to last more than six months.
Another problematic way tendonitis of the patellar can strike, is to hide in cold weather climates. The likelihood of patellar stress are increased dramatically when an individual is training excessively in chilly weather. Overuse in frigid temperatures assaults the tendons when they are cold, stiff, and brittle. This makes the tendons prone to micro tearing and distress. A cold weather preventative patellar tendonitis treatment would be to layer warm clothing correctly while exercising in cold temperatures. It is wise to wear clothing that is moisture wicking, and dries easily. If you wear climate appropriate clothing when working out, you will enjoy yourself more, and avoid unnecessary injury
Perhaps the most experienced cause of patellar tendon injury is very similar to a train jumping it’s tracks. It’s known as “mis-tracking” of the tendon, as named because the tendon jumps out of the canal at the uppermost part of the shinbone, and over the knee cartilage. This occurs primarily during heavy exertion, and is reported to be quite uncomfortable. Also, if you have ever gone through fallen arches, or have had painful arch issues, you may be so inclined to consider shoe inserts. Proper support in your footwear keeps the arches from falling, and in turn, keeps the shinbone from rotating and causing the track jumping pain described above.
How Do You Treat Patellar Tendonitis?
1. Rest is clearly the ideal way to treat patellar tendonitis. There are dependable remedies and measures to take if you believe you have developed tendonitis of the patellar. Most critically, avoid the activity which caused the injury in the first place! All mobility doesn’t have to be avoided, but running (especially downhill) or jumping should be totally eliminated.
2. Ice the hurt and aggravated area. Ice packs directly after the activity, applied a couple of times a day for about twenty minutes, will substantially aid in the decrease of swelling. As soon as the swelling is contained, the tendon is able to transfer vital nutrients to the injured area where before it was unable to. Healing will be more rapid once the vascular tissue is no longer blocked.
3. Consider over the counter, anti inflammatory medications to lessen pain and reduce swelling. As always, be careful not to cover up your pain with prescriptions, which can lead to re-injury. However, for individuals choosing non-prescription pain medications, the healing process may be faster and easier.
4. Massage the location with the assistance of a professional, or on your own, all along the leg area to encourage blood flow. Blood flowing to the affected area carries essential oxygen and nutrients, which speeds healing.
Additional Healing Suggestions for Persistent Tendonitis
5. Investigate using a brace, or a special knee strap, called the Chopat strap. These have been reported to help tendonitis sufferers, if used properly, to reduce burden on the strained patellar tendon.
6. Always include stretching and warming up. Finally,as it is strongly advised with all tendonitis treatments, if you include stretching before exercise or repetitive activity, your muscles will appreciate it immensely! Post exercise stretches are excellent injury insurance as well.
Don’t forget, a body that is introduced to a regular stretching routine, combined with exercise, will become a adaptable and healthy body capable of beating injury!