Most commonly with this condition, pain is located directly over the patella tendon and can be recreated by palpating over the tendon. Resisted contraction into knee extension often reproduces the pain, as does single leg squatting on the affected side. Sometimes, but not often, there is associated swelling to the patella tendon also.
In accurately assessing patella tendonitis, X-rays are often performed to confirm there is no problem with other local structures. Occasionally, a bone spur is seen on X-rays that can be related to patella tendonitis. A MRI is useful in patients with chronic patella tendonitis to look for areas of degenerative tendon and oedema in the proximal aspect of the tendon. The correct assessment is important as it will help determine the most effective treatment program.
The Physiotherapy Approach
In the early stages, the condition may be treated conservatively. This should involve eccentric loading, a form of exercise that is expertly taught by physiotherapists. Other treatment techniques to effectively treat patella tendonitis include:
It is important to avoid activities that aggravate the problem. The body is the best guide to know how much to rest the injured knee, if an activity hurts in the area of the injured patella tendon, and then the patient should rest from that activity.
Regular steady stretching exercises can reduce muscle spasm and help lengthen the muscle-tendon unit. Stretching the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles prior to activity is very important once the injured patient resumes sport. Good stretching habits, even once the symptoms resole, will help prevent a recurrence of the problem.
Weak thigh muscles contribute to the strain on the patella tendon. Eccentric exercises are particularly helpful.
Taping and Braces Patella tendon taping and patella braces may act to reduce pressure on the tendon by engaging the quadriceps more effectively. This may help relieve pain.
Electrotherapy modalities prescribed by the physiotherapist may be effective in relieving pain/swelling and reducing recovery time. Such modalities most commonly include ultrasound and interferential therapy.
Transverse friction techniques may be used.
Early intervention is the most important part in helping these patients achieve the best and fastest results possible. If you are looking for physiotherapy in Singapore, call us and we will be more than willing to help you recover. Get a tailored knee physiotherapy treatment today.