Tendonitis is a condition that can be very painful for patients, especially if left untreated. This is when connective tissue between muscles and bones becomes inflamed, which can lead to swelling and pain. Patellar tendonitis is a common overuse injury, especially in people that run, jump or kick with exercise or sports. It can lead to injuries easier, or can continually take you out of the active activities you love. If you have knee pain, see if it’s patellar tendonitis and let us help you heal!
Your Tendons and Tendonitis
There are over 650 different muscles in the human body. Those muscles help your body to move as they contract and relax, pulling your bones in different directions to make movement possible. Your muscles are also accompanied by tendons, which are thick, supporting fibrous tissue that attaches your muscles to your bones. Your tendons are thicker and tougher than your muscles are, and there are approximately 1,320 tendons in the body. Just like the muscles, your tendons can become injured and inflamed, especially in sports and with exercise.
Tendonitis occurs when a tendon is inflamed or when there are micro-tears in a tendon from repeated injury may never happen to you, but it does generally happen with repetitive motions or with sudden injuries. You can even do everyday tasks such as cleaning the house, gardening or shoveling a snowy driveway and end up with tendonitis. This can cause pain (especially with use), swelling, inflammation and more. One area of the body that gets tendonitis is the knee area, which has the patellar tendon.
The patellar tendon is a short and very wide tendon that runs from your patella (kneecap) to the top of your tibia. This tendon gives your knee a larger mechanical advantage, allowing your quadriceps to generate forces from the knee. Those forces are beneficial for many sports or for exercises that involve running or jumping. However, when you overuse this area, you may end up with tendonitis in the patellar tendon, causing you knee pain. This is because the quadricep muscles, which are the front thigh muscles, aren’t strong enough to take all the forces you’re putting on them over and over. The patellar tendon starts to take more and more of the force of running and jumping until an injury occurs.
Common symptoms of this type of tendonitis include:
- Pain in the area of the knee
- Tenderness, swelling, warmth or redness over the patellar tendon, which is just under the kneecap
- Occasional loss of strength and pain when aggressively straightening the knee (like from jumping or rising from a squatting position)
- Pain or loss of strength when bending the knee, squatting or kneeling
- Cracking sound when the tendon is moved or touched
These are all signs that you may have patellar tendonitis. If you have these symptoms in other joints of the body (shoulder, elbow, ankle, etc.), it could be a different type of tendonitis.
Treating Patellar Tendonitis In-Office
Not all cases of patellar tendonitis is caused by overuse, even though this is the common cause. Sometimes you can simply have flat feet that put strain on this knee tendon. Running downhill can strain this tendon, having poor thigh and knee strength or flexibility, or kicking out. Have a consultation so we can go over your symptoms and so that we can determine a cause. You’ll have to stop repetitive actions or motions that you are used to doing while you heal. It’s best to switch up your daily activities, work, exercise routines and anything else that is repetitive if you are prone to tendonitis easily.
In-office, we use natural therapies to help you heal quicker. Physical therapy is an option we use for most athletes and for patients who will benefit from it. Strengthening and stretching exercises may help reduce pain with activity. We give you exercises you can do in-office with our professionals and at-home for quicker healing. Stem cell therapy injections can help boost how quickly your body heals. Cortisone injections can help calm down pain and inflammation that is happening so that your tendonitis can diminish. Some serious cases of tendonitis will require restraining the knee so you don’t walk with a painful limp. Every case is unique, but with the right therapies, you can get back to the active life you love.
What Can You Do At Home?
Often, natural treatments involve the patient doing some work at home, which is what you should be doing anyways. With any type of injury, rest is always very important. Rest your injury whenever you can. Practicing “R.I.C.E.” therapy is always a smart idea too. That stands for “Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.” Speak with your rehabilitative professional before starting this therapy, because this method will depend on your tendonitis and how long you have had it. Icing and heating the injury will depend on if the injury is new or old.
A great way to help heal an injury quickly is to take care of your health in the first place. Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep at night so your cells can fully regenerate. Eat a balanced, nutritious diet full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Limit your sugar intake and nutrient-poor foods. Work with us to have a safe exercise plan so healing is happening while the rest of your body stays in shape.
Whenever you have an injury, you definitely want to have a health evaluation to see what the injury is. Prompt treatment in many cases is how injuries heal quicker. When it comes to patellar tendonitis, not receiving treatment promptly can make it so your injury becomes worse over time. If you are currently suffering from knee pain and are suspicious that it is patellar tendonitis, don’t delay in getting a consultation. Call Spine Correction Center today at (970) 658-5115!