What Im Finding Clinically
Over the last few years, it seems that every knee tendonitis Ive seen comes with stiffness in a very specific area of the lower back.
For the nerds out there, it often seems the most obvious around the T12-L3 segments.
For those unaware, this area incorporates the junction between the base of the ribcage and the top of the lumbar spine.
And whats interesting here is that were not talking overt pain or discomfort, but specific stiffness. The kind you can only appreciate by directly poking and prodding.
Significantly, most patients have no awareness this area is stiff. Often because they have no back pain to alert them.
Restore Normal Muscle Length
Tightness in the calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles can contribute to tendon overload. So we will stretch these muscles. If your tendons are easily irritated you need to be careful with the quadriceps stretch. Skip it if necessary.
Ive also recorded a video on how well stretching works for patellar tendonitis, based on feedback from participants of my Tough Tendons course. Here are the results:
With these first two steps we can take some stress off the tendon, but to make it strong enough for sports we need to do more.
What Causes Patellar Tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis happens when someone pushes knee tendon tissues too far, or too fast, over and over again. Repeated jumping and sprinting motions stress and strain the bands of patellar tendon tissues. Over time, lots of minor strains and tiny tears make the tendon tissues weak and sore.
This injury happens slowly over a long time. Medical experts still have unanswered questions about how or why patellar tendonitis occurs. Healthcare providers believe two main types of activities damage tendon tissues:
- Sudden, sizeable increase in activity .
- Returning to play at full strength after a break instead of slowly getting back into your regular routine.
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What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have patellar tendonitis, you may want to ask your provider:
- Do I need any tests?
- What treatment should I try first?
- Will my symptoms get worse?
- What can I do to help my body heal?
- When can I resume athletic pursuits?
- What are the risks of pushing through pain?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Recovering from a sports injury such as patellar tendonitis can be frustrating. You may feel tempted to cut your recovery short. But pushing your body too fast, too soon, has the potential to further damage already weakened tendon tissues. Instead, consider sitting down with a provider you trust to talk openly about your expectations. Work with your provider to develop a treatment and rehabilitation plan that fits your goals and prioritizes your long-term health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/19/2021.
Types Of Knee Tendonitis
Some of the specific types of of tendonitis that you might group under “knee tendonitis” include patellar tendonitis , quadriceps tendonitis, and iliotibial band friction syndrome.
Patellar tendonitis or jumper’s knee is the most common type of tendonitis of the knee, and it’s the kind of tendonitis most likely to be referred to simply as knee tendonitis in some cases. Athletes and others involved in sports such as running, jumping and other movements of the legs that put high pressure on the knees or result in extensive usage of the knee joint are more prone to patellar tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the tendon that links your patella to the tibia or shinbone.
When these structures are exposed to heavy and frequent pressures, it can commonly result in microscopic tears which tend to increase over time and finally resulting in inflammation of the tendons. Knee tendonitis may also be noticed in people living with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, which is characterized by inflammation of multiple joints in the body.
Aging, in general, affects the functioning of different parts of the body and may also play a role in the development of knee tendonitis. It has also been noted that knee tendonitis is commonly seen in individuals and athletes in whom the muscles of the knee have been matured to the maximum extent. Trauma or injury to the knee due to a fall or awkward extension of the knee joint may also result in knee tendonitis in certain instances.
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Best Exercises To Treat Knee Tendonitis
Knee pain can often incite fear and anxiety into people. It is not uncommon for individuals to develop pain in their knee at some point in their lives. If you have recently been diagnosed by a health care professional, or have a strong suspicion of tendinopathy in your knee you might be wondering what the best course of treatment is. Our expert physiotherapist, Derrick Shao is here to help and provide some insight on how to manage this pain so you can get back to the things you love.
How Is Tendonitis Of The Knee Treated
Physical therapy is often effective for tendonitis of the knee. Physical therapy will generally include a combination of range of motion, flexibility, and strength exercises along with activity modifications with the goal reducing pain with activity. Often rest, ice, or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines are used. Occasionally, surgery is necessary in order to relieve chronic symptoms.
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Iliotibial Band Tendonitis Is A Condition Characterized By Inflammation That Affects The Iliotibial Band Of The Upper Leg The It Band Runs Along The Outer Part Of The Thigh From The Hip To The Knee It Band Tendonitis Is A Non
Iliotibial band tendonitis, also called iliotibial band syndrome, is a condition characterized by inflammation that affects the iliotibial band of the upper leg. The IT band runs along the outer part of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. It consists of connective tissue called, fascia, that connects the buttock and hip muscles to the top of the shin bone. In fact, the IT band is the largest fascia in the body and helps to stabilize the knee while running. IT band tendonitis is most common in runners.
What Kind Of Exercises You Should Do
There are various exercises that can help with knee tendonitis. All of the exercises can be divided into three groups-stability, strengthening and stretching exercises. Some of the exercises overlap and have multiple functions. Although different types of exercises have different mechanism of work, in general they all have the same aim-to reduce the strain and make the knee and its structures more resistant to stress.
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Other Treatment Options Short Of Surgery
A number of other treatments have been used with variable success in the treatment of patellar tendinitis. These include:
Platelet-Rich Plasma : PRP injection has recently been used in the treatment of chronic, refractory tendonitis. PRP is derived from the patients own blood and concentrates many important growth factors that have been shown to be important in the bodys healing response following injury. Preliminary results have been encouraging, but long-term success remains unknown.Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy : ECW uses sound waves to stimulate healing at the injured tendon. It has been used with modest success in the treatment of tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.Laser & Electrical Stimulation: While the mechanism of action is unclear, laser and electrical stimulation techniques have been reported with good success in small case series.
Real Cures For Tendonitis
Real cures for tendonitis
What do tennis elbow, pitchers shoulder, golfers elbow, and jumpers knee have in common?
First, they all hurt. A lot. Many sufferers describe the pain as a dull ache, tender to the touch with visible swelling in the affected area.
Second, they are all forms of tendonitis. Tendonitis is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon. It is most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and heels.
In most cases, the discomfort of mild cases of tendonitis can be treated with over-the-counter medication or rest. But if the pain persists, you may need to see a doctor.
I sat down with Dr. Ryan Slater, Sports Medicine Specialist with Central Utah Clinic, to find out more about how to treat and even cure tendonitis.
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How To Treat Tendonitis Yourself
Follow these steps for 2 to 3 days to help manage pain and to support the tendon.
- Rest: try to avoid moving the tendon for 2 to 3 days.
- Ice: put an ice pack on the tendon for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
- Support: wrap an elastic bandage around the area, use a tube bandage, or use a soft brace. You can buy these from pharmacies. It should be snug, not tight.
It’s important to take a bandage or brace off before going to bed.
When you can move the injured area without pain stopping you, try to keep moving it so the joint does not become stiff.
To help prevent further injury or pain, try to avoid:
- heavy lifting, strong gripping or twisting actions that make the symptoms worse
- playing sports, until the tendon has recovered
Orthopedic Doctors In North Dakota
Many treatment procedures exist today for knee tendonitis, ranging from over-the-counter drugs to physical therapy to surgery. It is best to consult with an orthopedic specialist to develop the most appropriate and effective treatment regimen for you, so you can get back to your normal active lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Here at The Bone & Joint Center, we have offices located across North Dakota to serve you and to treat your knee pain. Our orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and sports doctors provide each patient the best treatment in the least-invasive way.
If you would like to schedule a consultation, call our friendly staff today at 424-2663 or complete our online request form now. We look forward to helping you get back up and running!
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Whats A Typical Treatment Plan
Treatment depends on the severity of your injury.
Conservative measures to reduce pain, rest your leg, and stretch and strengthen your leg muscles are generally the first line of treatment. Your doctor will usually advise a period of controlled rest, where you avoid activity that puts force on the knee.
Who Is More Likely To Have Patellar Tendonitis
Certain factors can affect your likelihood of developing patellar tendonitis:
- Age: Because patellar tendonitis happens gradually over a long time, people over 40 have a greater risk than adolescents or young adults.
- Level of athletic participation: Athletes participating at a competitive or elite level train harder and more often than recreational athletes. More intense training puts more stress on muscles and tendons.
- Type of physical activity: You may have an increased chance of developing patellar tendonitis if you participate in activities that require a lot of jumping, sprinting or abrupt movements at fast speeds.
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Where Does Tendonitis Occur
Tendonitis can occur at almost any site of the body where a tendon connects a bone to a muscle. Common areas for the condition include the shoulder , elbow, , and ankle.
Some common condition names that indicate frequent sites for tendon problems:
- Swimmers shoulder : Shoulder tendonitis involves inflammation at one of the tendons of the rotator cuff, at the top of the shoulder.
- affects the lateral side of the elbow.
- affects the medial side of the elbow.
- is tendonitis at the back of the wrist.
- Jumpers knee is tendonitis at the front of the knee. This should not be confused with , which is a separate condition.
- affects the back of the ankle and heel of the foot.
Virtual Care From Sports Doctors And Specialists
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How Is Patellar Tendonitis Diagnosed
To diagnose patellar tendonitis, your healthcare provider will first take a thorough medical history. That may include asking you about your activity level and symptoms. Be sure to tell your provider if your symptoms have changed over time.
Your provider will perform a physical exam to evaluate your symptoms. They may press all along your patellar tendon knee to gauge where it hurts. Gently moving your knee in different directions can help your provider evaluate your range of motion.
Treatment For Tendonitis From A Gp
A GP may prescribe a stronger painkiller or suggest you use a NSAID cream or gel on your skin to ease pain.
If the pain is severe, lasts a long time, or your movement is limited, you may be referred for physiotherapy. You can also choose to book appointments privately.
If physiotherapy does not help, you may be referred to a doctor who specialises in muscles and bones or a local musculoskeletal clinic.
Some people with severe tendonitis may be offered:
- steroid injections, which may provide short-term pain relief
- shockwave therapy, which may help with healing
- platelet rich plasma injections , which may help with healing
- surgery to remove damaged tissue or repair a ruptured tendon
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What Are The Symptoms Of Tendonitis In The Knee
Symptoms associated with a diagnosis of tendonitis in the knee, patients often experience pain at and around the patella/kneecap . Specifically, the pain is often localized at the patellar tendon which is situated between the patella and the tibia bones.
Pain is often felt behind the knee when bending or straightening the leg, such as during walking and squatting. This may result in pain and inability to bend at the knee. In severe cases, there may be a burning sensation at the knee as well which can indicate nerve involvement.
Airrosti Patellar Tendonitis Treatment & Rehab
Airrosti can help rapidly speed recovery, allowing you to maintain your active lifestyle and continue any athletic activities. Through our highly targeted, noninvasive manual therapy and active recovery program, we can often resolve your injury in an average of three visits based on patient-reported outcomes, and most individuals can resume normal activity right away.
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What Causes Knee Tendonitis
Jumpers knee is an overuse injury and the result of repetitive micro-trauma to patellar tendon. Usually such micro-trauma is caused by activities that include a lot of jumping, running and cutting.
Sports such as basketball, volleyball and tennis have a high incidence rate of this injury, but it is not limited to these groups.
A common theme among people who suffer from knee tendonitis is playing through pain or regular overexertion on the court. Heres what happens if it is left untreated:
Initially, tendonitis will just be a minor pain in the tendon below the kneecap, but with repeated overuse tissue damage cellular degradation will set in.
If the overuse continues the body will be unable to repair the damaged tissue and tendonitis turns into tendinosis: a painful chronic condition that will take months, sometimes years to heal.
Ignore tendonitis and your pain will get worse and your condition will get more chronic. Act early and you could be back to sports in a few weeks.
Why Is This Area Significant
The super-nerds among us may recognize two things about the ~T12-L3 area.
Firstly, these segments house the Femoral nerve. This nerve supplies the Quadriceps and plots its course through the front of the thigh to the knee.
Secondly, these spinal segments also relate to the bodys knee-related Dermatomes and Myotomes. Without going into too much detail these are sensory and motor connections leftover from our fetal development.
The point being there are direct and indirect connections between the lower back and the knee.
These connections may have functional and mechanical ramifications for the Patellar tendon if the associated spinal levels are stiff.
Clinically, this specific spinal stiffness seems to pull slack from associated nerves and soft tissue. This neural tension may act as a hand-brake to the knee forcing a long-term shift in the way we load the Patella tendon, potentially pre-empting the changes we see in knee tendonitis.
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How Is Knee Tendonitis Treated
People who suffer from knee tendonitis will have a wide number of treatment options at their disposal. The treatment approaches for jumper’s knee range from medications to surgery of the knee joints. The treatment is selected based on the extent and severity of the injury to the tendons of the knee.
Doctors may perform extensive diagnostic tests. A physical examination will be the first step, based on the signs and symptoms a patient reports. This alone is often sufficient to diagnose knee tendonitis. Further tests such as MRI scans, ultrasonography, and other advanced imaging techniques may be advised if a severe injury is suspected or to rule out the presence of any other associated conditions of the knee. Imaging techniques will also be performed prior to surgery.
What Should I Do If Home Remedies Dont Work
Home remedies dont always provide a permanent solution for tendonitis. If your case is persistent, chronic, or giving you more than mild discomfort, it is time to see a pain doctor or a knee pain specialist.
A variety of physicians treat tendonitis, including your primary care physician, but a specialized knee pain doctor is the best choice. These experts ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and medical advice that relies on the most current treatment options available.
During your initial exam, your pain doctor may order some tests. In some cases, an x-ray is appropriate to rule out a fracture or displacement of the kneecap. An MRI or an ultrasound may also be appropriate, so your doctor can see any damage to your soft tissue.
Your pain doctor may recommend physical therapy to stretch and strengthen your tendons. If your pain is so severe that it is limiting your ability to manage daily activities like walking and driving, a medical injection or other treatment may be the right solution.
Learn more about what tendonitis in the knee is and how it is treated by visiting your pain treatment specialist. At our Pain Center, we offer minimally invasive treatments for your knee pain, without unnecessary medication or downtime. We also offer same/next day appointments, making sure you dont have to suffer unnecessarily.
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