What causes patellar tendonitis?
The most common cause of patellar tendonitis is repetitive jumping such as in basketball and volleyball. Too much jumping can put a huge load on your kneecap and the patellar tendon. Other repetitive activities involving the knee, such as walking, running, and bicycling may lead to the development of patellar tendonitis.
Symptoms of patellar tendonitis may include
- Pain and tenderness on the area of the patellar tendon, just below the kneecap
- Swelling in your knee joint
- Difficulty jumping, walking, or running
If you experience severe pain and swelling at the time of your injury, seek medical help immediately for proper diagnosis and prompt treatment.
What you can do
If you have mild symptoms, applying RICE therapy may be just enough to help manage your symptoms. RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Taking pain medication may also help with your symptoms. You may need to modify your activities while you recover from your injury.
It is important that you continue performing physical activities while avoiding certain movements that worsen your symptoms.
Learn more about RICE Therapy for Minor Injuries.
After your pain and swelling have subsided, you may perform exercises to help improve your knee joint range and muscle strength. If you are unsure of what safe exercises you can do, you can ask a physical therapist to help you create a safe knee exercise program for you.
Treatment Options for Patellar Tendonitis
Treatment for your patellar tendonitis depends on the symptoms that you have and the severity of your injury. While RICE therapy is often prescribed for minor patellar tendon injuries, other treatment options may be considered by your doctor, such as prescribing an anti-inflammatory medication, infra-patellar strap, or bracing. Your doctor will likely recommend activity modification.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you with performing safe exercises and maintaining your general fitness. In addition, your therapist will guide you on self-care of your symptoms and provide you with injury prevention strategies.
Is surgery necessary for your injury?
Most people with patellar tendonitis rarely undergo surgery. However, your doctor may recommend surgery if conservative or nonsurgical approaches do not help manage your symptoms.
Physical Therapy for Patellar Tendonitis
Physical therapy will be able to help you get back to your original activities or sport as fast as safely possible. In most cases, physical therapy for patellar tendonitis involve
- Use of ice or heat and electrotherapeutic modalities to help manage your symptoms and other related problems
- Exercises to help improve your knee range of motion (ROM); muscle and joint flexibility; and muscle strength.
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