What’s patellar tendinopathy?
Patella tendinopathy or jumper’s knee, is an overuse injury affecting the tendon below the kneecap. This is usually characterised by a localised pain from the inferior surface of the kneecap to where the tendon attaches to the shin. It is one of many possible causes of anterior knee pain. Commonly this occurs in people who participate in sports such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, football or athletics (jumping events); particularly with men in the 15-30yr age bracket.
The patella tendon works to transfer the force from the quadriceps (front of thigh) muscle to the shin bone. Its role is to extend the knee or stop it from bending. Pain is caused from an increased demand or load on the quadriceps especially in activities which require repetitive loading particularly jumping and landing.
Clients often present with:
- Pain in the anterior knee, below the knee cap
- Load-related pain that is activity dependent i.e. pain is rarely experienced while resting
At Oxford Circus Physiotherapy, your physiotherapist can help to identify the diagnosis and examine and treat the factors that may contribute to such pain or injury with the patella tendon. Contributing factors may include:
- Hip, knee or ankle movement restrictions
- Muscle weakness or imbalances
- Posture or poor biomechanics of the lower limb
- Poor flexibility
- Training schedules, surfaces or equipment
Depending on the stage of your injury rehabilitation may vary. Physiotherapy will help with advice in regards to rest, activity load, pain relief and an exercise programme specific to your needs. Below is an example of a strapping technique that can be used to help reduce pain.
The most common question of ‘when can I return to sport’ depends on the stage and severity of the injury. At first the damage may be minor. However, with excessive jumping or landing (straining the tendon further), the damage occurring may exceed the rate of repair. This is why it’s best to get advice from your physiotherapist for a thorough assessment and get started on a management plan as quickly as possible.