What is Tendonitis?
Patella tendonitis is a condition that causes knee pain in active people. It is an inflammation of the patella tendon that connects the knee-cap (patella) to the shin bone (tibia). The most common activity that aggravates the patella tendon is jumping, so it is commonly referred to as ‘jumper’s knee’.
What causes it
Repetitive strain applied to the patella tendon can cause Patella tendonitis For example repetitive jumping, hopping, landing, kicking or squatting activities can overload the patella tendon causing inflammation and pain. This injury is common in sports requiring frequent jumping and landing including netball, basketball, volleyball and dance.
Several factors may contribute to the development of patella tendonitis, including:
Abnormal foot posture – this can cause excessive motion across the knee, overloading the patella tendon
Muscle tightness or weakness – tight thigh and leg muscles can reduce the flexibility at the knee joint and increase the strain on the tendon
Overuse – especially if are participating in sports involving high impact activities like running or jumping
Unsupportive or unstable footwear with poor shock absorption and inadequate stability
Poor pelvic stability or core strength
How is Patella Tendonitis Diagnosed
Your Osteopath will go through a comprehensive medical history and complete a physical examination and visual gait analysis. The assessment is likely to include:
- Pain provocation tests – to reproduce your knee pain
- Foot posture assessment
- Joint flexibility tests (or range of motion)
- Foot and leg muscle strength testing – looking for muscle imbalances and weakness
- Footwear assessment – looking for abnormal shoe wear patterns
- Gait analysis and biomechanical assessment – to look for any abnormalities in the way the feet and legs move during gait
How is Patella Tendonitis treated
Depending on the individual contributing factors your Osteopath may recommend these treatments options:
- Custom foot orthotics – to address abnormal foot posture problems and reduce excessive motion across the knee joint
- Stretching exercises – to improve joint and muscle flexibility
- Strengthening exercises – to address any foot or leg muscle imbalance or weakness. If you require a hip stabilisation program a physiotherapy referral will be recommended
- Footwear changes – more supportive, stable footwear may be recommended
- Ice massage – to reduce local inflammation after sport or exercise
- Rest from aggravating activities until the inflammation is reduced
The main symptoms of tendonitis are:
- pain in a tendon (for example, in your knee, elbow or shoulder) that gets worse when you move
difficulty moving the tendon
- feeling a grating or crackling sensation when you move the tendon
- swelling, sometimes with heat or redness
- a lump along the tendon
- There are many different types of tendonitis, depending on which area of the body is affected.