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Patellar Tendonitis

Whenever you see “itis” at the end of a word describing a medical condition, you can infer that the condition involves inflammation that is sometimes due to overuse. Such is the case with patellar tendonitis. The patellar tendon is the structure in your knee that attaches your quadricep muscle to your tibia, which is your shin bone. It is made of a series of tough, string like bands that are surrounded by a vascular tissue lining which is responsible for supplying tissue to the tendon itself. When the tendon and the surrounding tissues become inflamed, it causes the condition known as patellar tendonitis.

Patellar tendonitis is commonly seen in runners, basketball players and football players. Because it often occurs with participation in jumping sports, patellar tendonitis is sometimes called “Jumper’s Knee.” There are a number of factors that influence one’s susceptibility towards this injury. Rapid increases in the frequency and/or intensity of a training regimen may be responsible. In some cases, training on a hard floor surface is the culprit. Some athletes execute poor biomechanics while training, while others have genetic abnormalities in the knee joint. Improper biomechanics may be directly or indirectly related to knee, hip and foot alignment. Wide hips, knock knees and excessive foot pronation can contribute to alignment problems. In rare cases, an MRI may reveal a bone spur that is causing the problem. Poor functional strength of the quadriceps muscles has also been linked to patellar tendonitis.

So how do you know if you have patellar tendonitis? You will probably see some swelling in the knee cap. There will be some pain in the area of the patellar, and the knee may feel as if it has a limited range of motion. Once your doctor has diagnosed you with patellar tendonitis, there are a number of ways to treat it. In the early stages of the injury, you will be advised to apply ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days, or until the pain subsides. Some doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. There is also a brace called an infra-patellar strap which can support your patellar while preventing the overuse which causes pain. If your doctor discovers that your patellar tendonitis is due to over-pronation, Orthotics may be prescribed for your athletic shoes.

You will be able to return to your regular activity when you are able to straighten and bend the leg without pain. There should be no swelling, and you should not be limping when you walk. To prevent patellar tendonitis, make sure that you don not over train. Have a Pilates professional check out your alignment, and make as many corrections as possible.

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