Knee tendonitis

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What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis is tendon inflammation that causes pain and swelling and may negatively impact joint movement. One of the common examples of knee tendonitis is patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), an inflammation of the tendon connecting your knee cap and your shin.

 

What are the causes of patellar tendonitis?
Patellar tendonitis happens due to overuse injury caused by stress on the patellar tendon which frequently happens in those doing sports involving a lot of sprinting or jumping motions. The overuse results in tiny tears in the tendon. If the tears multiply or your body fails to repair them in a timely manner, the resulting inflammation and weakness of the tendon can cause pain in the knee.

 

Symptoms of tendinitis of knees

The severity of symptoms varies significantly from patient to patient. The symptoms are not constant for some patients but may come and go. Symptoms of knee tendinitis may include:

  • Dull pain over the knee joint

  • Reduced mobility of the knee

  • Reduced the range of motion of the knee

  • Limping

 

When should I seek medical help?

There are circumstances when knee pain might be caused or accompanied by severe issues. If such symptoms are present, it is best to seek immediate medical attention to avoid further complications:

  • A very painful knee that stops you from doing normal daily activities.

  • Unable to bear any weight

  • Badly swollen or deformed knees

  • Redness, high temperature and knee swelling may indicate an infection in your knee.

 

Diagnosis

To diagnose patellar tendonitis, your doctor will take your case history and past medical history into account. Then your doctor will physically examine your knee, look for where you feel pain, and test the range of knee motion in your knee by bending and extending your leg.

 

Further imaging, such as an X-ray, can provide more information on your knee cap to look out for fractures or dislocation. Doctors also use MRI and ultrasound to evaluate the damage to the tendon.

 

Treatment

Non-surgical treatment is the first-line treatment for tendonitis. Here are some examples:

  • Rest. Rest your leg for a few days after injury. Your doctor may recommend crutches to reduce the pressure on your knee joint. 

  • Ice. Use cold packs for 15-20 minutes at a time, every 2-3 hours. 

  • Compression. Wear an elastic bandage to prevent further swelling of your knee.

  • Elevation. Put a pillow under your ankle to elevate your knee. It can help reduce swelling. 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help reduce pain and swelling.

  • Physical therapy. Therapists can help you regain strength, mobility and range of motion in your knees.

  • When conservative treatments fail to relieve pain, your doctor may advise surgery to repair the patellar tendon.

 

Prevention

Tendinitis can be prevented. You can take the measures below: 

  • Exercise. Regularly stretch your quads and hamstrings. Inflexible quadriceps and hamstrings can put extra stress on the patellar tendon. Strengthen your muscles. Strong thigh muscles can cope better with the stresses that your knee is going through during activities.

  • Posture. Maintaining good posture and avoiding staying in the same position for too long can prevent the wearing of joints. If you work at a desk, ensure your chair is at the correct height, and take regular breaks to move around and stretch.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases the pressure on your joints and your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

  • Practice good exercise techniques. Improper exercise posture and poor habits put excessive stress on your joints and cause injury.

  • Use appropriate shoes when exercising to support your body and your balance.