Your patellar tendon extends from the bottom of your knee cap to the top of your shin bone. Runners knee or jumpers knee, also known as patellar tendonitis, is an injury or irritation of the patellar tendon which causes anterior knee pain. This relatively common cause of knee pain can be seen in athletes and regular folks. It can be diagnosed with a combination of examination and ultrasound, and is a treatable form of knee pain. There are a few key pillars to successful long term treatment for patellar tendonitis.
Correct your biomechanical problems. Weakness in the hips can cause patellar tendonitis by shifting your weight away from the hips and squarely onto your knee. This weakness can be induced by direct muscle weakness around the hips, a pinched nerve in the back, ligament injury around the hip, or hip arthritis. In addition, tight or weak hamstrings can shift more weight to the patellar tendon as well, resulting in irritation to the tendon. Correcting these biomechanical issues can help with the original cause for your patellar tendonitis.
Incorporate eccentric exercises to strengthen the patellar tendon. A staple physical therapy approach to treatment of patellar and achilles tendonitis is to incorporate eccentric exercises. These exercises strengthen and lengthen the tendon in a progressive and organized manner. Your rehab plan must center around this approach.
Regenerative injection treatments such as prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma. These minimally invasive treatments help to heal and repair damaged tendon tissue. This should be considered if rehab and biomechanical changes provide limited benefit.
High volume image guided treatment for chronic tendinopathy is a newer option. Neural input in tendinopathy pathology is a poorly understood concept. On occasion in patellar and achilles tendonitis, the region between the tendon and fat layer becomes inflamed and filled with new nerve endings. This area if directly treated can result in surprisingly good results on its own, and is an area ripe for treatment when combined with regenerative injection treatments for the tendon directly. In particular as a stand alone treatment it can help treat athletes who are looking to minimize down time during their athletic season.
If you require treatment for patellar tendonitis, schedule an appointment for evaluation.