The patella tendon is an extension of the quadriceps muscles that attaches the knee cap to the shinbone. It is susceptible to overuse injuries where there is a lot of loading going through the quadriceps for example jumping or landing, hence its nickname jumpers knee.
In the early stages of pain there may just be tendon inflammation, however if this isn’t treated properly it can progress to patella tendinosis, where degenerative changes are taking place.
Symptoms include pain at the bottom and in front of the kneecap especially when pressing this area. The front of the knee can feel achy and stiff after exercise and there can be pain when contracting the quadriceps. Aggravating activities typically include running, jumping, hopping, squatting, kicking or climbing stairs.
This can be a complicated condition to treat. Ignoring symptoms or adopting a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude is likely to lead to the condition becoming chronic. Immediate, appropriate treatment in all patients is essential to ensure a speedy recovery. Often the condition requires a substantial period of rest and a specific rehabilitation program.
Treatment for Patella Tendonitis / Tendonosis
Physiotherapy treatment for patients with this condition is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and decrease the likelihood of injury recurrence. Treatment may comprise:
- Exercise programs to stretch, self treat and improve proprioception, balance, strength and core stability
- Biomechanical assessment
- Orthotic/insole advise
- Deep tissue massage/myofascial release
- Joint mobilisation
- Dry needling /acupuncture
- Spinal and pelvic re-alignment
- Education / training advice
- Activity modification advice
- Ice or heat treatment
- Clinical Pilates
- Injection advice