By Caitlan Skillicorn, Senior Physiotherapist
Patellar tendinosis, also known as jumper’s knee, is a common condition that affects athletes, particularly those involved in jumping sports. It is characterized by pain and tenderness in the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone. The condition is caused by repetitive stress and strain on the tendon, leading to microtears and degeneration. If left untreated, it can progress to a more severe form known as a patellar tendon tear. However, with the help of physiotherapy, patellar tendinosis can be effectively treated and managed.
Physiotherapy for patellar tendinosis typically involves a combination of exercise, manual therapy, and education. Here are some ways that physiotherapy can help:
- Relative rest and activity modification: Resting the affected knee and modifying activities that aggravate the condition is important to allow the tendon to heal. A physiotherapist can recommend alternative activities that are less stressful on the tendon and help to maintain cardiovascular fitness.
- Stretching and flexibility exercises: Tight muscles and a lack of flexibility can contribute to patellar tendinosis. A physiotherapist can recommend stretching exercises to improve flexibility and reduce tension on the tendon.
- Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises for the quadriceps and hamstring muscles can help to alleviate the load on the patellar tendon. Eccentric exercises, which involve lengthening the muscle while it contracts, have been shown to be particularly effective in treating patellar tendinosis.
- Manual therapy: Manual therapy techniques such as massage, myofascial release, and soft tissue mobilization can help to reduce pain and improve tissue mobility.
- Bio mechanical assessment and correction: A physiotherapist can assess the patient’s gait and movement patterns to identify any imbalances or abnormalities that may be contributing to the condition. Corrective exercises canthen be prescribed to improve biomechanics and reduce stress on the patellar tendon.
- Taping and bracing: Taping or bracing the knee can help to provide support and alleviate pain during activity temporarily during rehabilitation. A physiotherapist can recommend the appropriate taping or bracing technique based on the patient’s individual needs.
- Education: Educating patients on the causes and contributing factors of patellar tendinosis is an important aspect of treatment. A physiotherapist can provide guidance on proper warm-up and cool-down techniques, as well as advice on equipment and training methods that may reduce the risk of injury.
Patellar tendinosis is a common condition that can be effectively treated with physiotherapy. Treatment typically involves a combination of rest, stretching and flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises, manual therapy, biomechanical assessment and correction, taping and bracing, and education. If you are experiencing pain or tenderness in your patellar tendon, seek the help of a qualified physiotherapist
who can develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs.