Treatment of Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so that you can kick, run and jump. For most people, treatment of patellar tendinitis can begin with some anti-inflammatory medication (if necessary), with physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee.

There are a few different methods to treating someone with symptoms of patellar tendinitis, including:

Exercise Therapy:

  • Stretching exercisesRegular, steady stretching exercises can reduce muscle spasm and help lengthen the muscle-tendon unit.
  • Strengthening exercisesWeak thigh muscles contribute to the strain on your patellar tendon. Exercises that involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending it can be particularly helpful, as can exercises that strengthen all of the leg muscles in combination, such as a leg press.

Other Therapy options:

The following treatments can also be useful for pain relief, however this will provide results in the short term, without actually addressing the problem that is causing the knee injury.

  • Patellar tendon strapA strap that applies pressure to your patellar tendon.
  • IontophoresisThis therapy involves corticosteroid medicine.

 

All the options of treatment above would be considered conservative methods of treatment. If these do not help your patella tendinitis issue, a Doctor may recommend other procedures such as:

  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Platelet rich plasma injection
  • Surgery

 

Lifestyle Management Tips!

  • Note any recent injuries that may have damaged your knee joint.
  • Log your typical daily activity, sports/exercise and intensity/volume, change in activity, equipment used.
  • Avoid activity that causes pain as working through pain can further damage your patellar tendon.
  • Apply ice after an activity that causes pain.

 

Ronan Power (B. Ex Phys)

Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

References

  1. Kasper DL, et al., eds. Periarticular disorders of the extremities. In: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Jan. 25, 2018.
  2. Patellar tendon tear. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/patellar-tendon-tear. Accessed Jan. 23, 2018.
  3. Tintinalli JE, et al. Knee injuries. In: Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2016. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Jan. 25, 2018.
  4. Malliaras P, et al. Patellar tendinopathy: Clinical diagnosis, load management, and advice for challenging case presentations. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2015;45:887.

Maitin IB, et al. Sports rehabilitation. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Jan.