by Briana Croker, SPT
Patellar Tendinopathy Injury – Jumpers Knee
What is it?
Patellar tendinopathy injury is an overuse injury of the knee. It is commonly referred to as “Jumper’s Knee”. It occurs when there is too much stress placed on the patellar tendon. The knee joint is comprised of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and the patella (knee cap). The quadriceps (thigh muscles) attach to the kneecap. The patellar tendon attaches the kneecap to the shin bone. When your quadriceps contract, the patellar tendon acts like a rope around a pulley to straighten your leg. It helps to transfer the force of the quads. It is especially important for your quadriceps to control your knee bending from a straightened position. Patellar tendinopathy is when inflammation is present. Patellar tendinosis is pain and injury without the inflammation.
Causes for patellar tendinopathy include increases in activity, jumping activities/sports, kicking activities, and poor flexibility of the quadriceps. Repetitive loading on the patellar tendon causes small micro tears that do not have enough time to heal before the tendon is stressed again, resulting in pain and dysfunction. Signs and symptoms consist of pain right below the knee where the quadriceps tendon sits. The pain may be evident during stairs, jumping, and running. The tendon may feel stiff or worse after sitting for a while or first thing in the morning.
Treatment for patellar tendinopathy will begin with decreasing the pain and inflammation. Once pain is controlled, flexibility is addressed by increasing the mobility of tight muscles allowing adequate knee range of motion. It is common for the quadriceps muscles to be tight in patellar tendinopathy. Strengthening weak muscles will be incorporated to ensure the knee joint is properly stabilized. Eccentric quadriceps strengthening is often emphasized. Lastly, biomechanics during functional and sporting activities will be addressed to make sure the knee remains in proper alignment.
If you have experienced a knee injury due to overuse and need an experienced physical therapy professional to diagnose and treat your knee injury, call us at 518-289-5242 to reach our Queensbury, Malta – Saratoga, or Latham PT clinics. Ask us how we can help provide more information on patellar tendinopathy injury prevention and treatment for knee injuries in Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa, Glens Falls , Queensbury, Latham, Troy and Albany NY regions.