As an athlete, there are many risks involved but you have to take it because you love what you do. One of the risks is patellar tendonitis. This describes an overuse injury that affects your knee. It is the result of the patella tendon repeatedly stressed over time. Some symptoms include pain over the patella tendon, localised tenderness over the patella tendon and stiffness of the tendon in the morning.
This usually affects athletes involved in sports like jumping, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, soccer, football and skiing. Patellar tendonitis can also affect older people as a result of degeneration from repetitive damage. Lastly, people who sustained an acute injury to the tendon also suffer from patella tendonitis.
What you can do about it?
If you have knee pain during or after your physical activity, it is crucial that you know what to do. You need to rest the painful area and avoid any activity because it will only aggravate the condition. To prevent stiffness, you should consider stretching and other gentle range-of-motion exercises.
Do not forget to apply ice or cold packs for at least twenty minutes at a time. It should as often as two times an hour for the first seventy-two hours. If your condition does not improve with ice and rest, it is time that you seek https://nydnrehab.com/what-we-treat/knee-pain/patellar-tendonitis/ immediately.
Preparing for your appointment
You need to prepare a list of symptoms and when they started. Aside from that, you should also write down your medical information including other conditions and the medications or supplements you are taking. More importantly, note any recent injuries that lead to the damage of your knee joint.
Meeting the doctor
The doctor will start by applying pressure to parts of your knee. This is to identify where you are hurt. The doctor may request imaging tests like x-rays, ultrasound and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). After the diagnosis, the doctor will also present a treatment plan by suggesting less invasive treatments before considering other options.
You should expect medications. This will include OTC (Over-the-counter) pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Aside from that, the doctors may prescribe anti-inflammation medications. If the pain is severe, the doctor will decide if you need corticosteroid injection.
Aside from medications, you should expect physical therapy. The aim of therapy is to reduce inflammation and pain. Your physical therapist will help you by developing an exercise program. The exercise program may include stretches, isometric exercises, eccentric exercises, and flexibility exercises.
The doctor will decide if you need alternative treatments that may include ultrasound-guided dry needling (making small holes in the tendon to relieve pain and help healing) and polidocanol injections or high volume ultrasound-guided injections (breaking new blood vessels on the tendon associated with pain).
Additionally, the doctor may also consider hyperthermia thermotherapy (deep-tissue heating with a cooling device to relieve pain) and extracorporeal shockwave therapy (reduce pain for up to 2 years). When other treatments are not successful in alleviating pain, the doctor will advise surgery to repair the patellar tendon.
It is important that you consult your doctor right away. Do not let the pain affect your performance or daily activities. You have to believe that you will get better soon and you do not need to be alone in your journey to healing.