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What is Patellar Tendinopathy or Tendinitis?

We will explore in detail the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and available treatment options, and how to address it.
Date:
14 de May de 2024
Written by:
Dr. Pablo Gelber

atellar tendinopathy, also known as “jumper’s knee,” is a condition affecting the patellar tendon, a crucial structure in the knee that connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone). This tendon plays an essential role in knee extension, allowing movements such as jumping, running, and kicking.

In this article, we will explore in detail the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and available treatment options for this condition, providing a comprehensive perspective on how to address it effectively. For personalized guidance, you are invited to contact Dr. Pablo Gelber’s clinic.

Causes

Patellar tendinopathy primarily originates from overuse or excessive load on the tendon, manifesting through:

  • High-impact activities: Sports that demand intense jumping, such as basketball, volleyball, and athletics.
  • Overtraining: A sudden increase in the intensity or frequency of training without adequate rest periods.
  • Improper technique: Incorrect execution of movements or poor posture during physical activity.
  • Hard surfaces: Training on surfaces that lack impact absorption.
  • Physical condition deficits: Muscle weakness or imbalances in the leg muscles.

Symptoms

  • Pain: Painful sensation at the front of the knee, just below the patella, ranging from mild to severe. Pain typically worsens with physical activity and may subside with rest.
  • Inflammation: Possible swelling around the tendon in some cases.
  • Tenderness: Sensitivity to touch in the affected tendon area.
  • Stiffness: Feeling of stiffness in the knee, especially after periods of inactivity.
  • Weakness: Perception of weakness in the affected knee.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of patellar tendinopathy is based on:

  • Medical history: Evaluation of the patient’s symptoms and activity history.
  • Physical examination: Inspection and palpation of the knee to identify areas of pain and tenderness.
  • Imaging: Ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the condition of the tendon and rule out other injuries.

Treatment

he treatment of patellar tendinopathy focuses on relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and allowing the tendon to heal. Treatment options include:

  • Rest: Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain.
  • Cryotherapy: Applying ice to the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Medications: Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Specific exercises to strengthen and lengthen the muscles around the knee, improving flexibility and correcting muscle imbalances.
  • Support devices: Use of knee braces or bands to relieve pressure on the tendon.
  • Shockwave therapy: Use of sound waves to stimulate tendon healing.
  • USGET: Ultrasound-guided percutaneous electrolysis.
  • Injections: Consideration of corticosteroid or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections in severe cases.
  • Surgical intervention: May be a good option if conservative treatment is ineffective and pain persists. Currently, the most recommended option is arthroscopic debridement under ultrasound guidance (sonosurgery).

Prevention

  • Proper warm-up: Perform a thorough warm-up before any physical activity.
  • Balanced training: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of training.
  • Correct technique: Ensure proper technique in sports activities.
  • Strengthening and stretching: Keep the leg muscles strong and flexible.
  • Appropriate footwear: Wear shoes that provide good support and cushioning.

In summary, patellar tendinopathy is a painful condition resulting from overuse or overload of the patellar tendon. With a precise diagnosis from a professional and appropriate treatment, ranging from conservative measures to medical interventions in exceptional cases, it is possible to address and recover from this condition. For professional advice, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Pablo Gelber.

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