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General Practice 2023

Knee tendonitis (patellar): main symptoms and treatment

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Knee tendonitis (patellar): main symptoms and treatment
Knee tendonitis (patellar): main symptoms and treatment
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Knee tendinitis, also known as patellar tendinitis or jumper's knee, is an inflammation of the patellar tendon of the knee that causes intense pain in the knee area, especially when walking or exercising.

Generally, knee tendinitis is more common in soccer, tennis, basketball or runners, for example, due to overuse of the extensor muscles (back of the thigh) for jumping and running. However, tendinitis can also arise in elderly patients due to progressive wear and tear of the joint. Learn about other causes of knee pain.

Symptoms of tendonitis in the knee

The main symptoms of patellar tendinitis can include:

  • Pain in front of knee;
  • Pain that gets worse when jumping or running;
  • Swelling of the knee;
  • Difficulty moving the knee;
  • Knee feeling when waking up.

Furthermore, patellar tendinitis can be classified in degrees according to the intensity of the symptoms and when they appear in:

  • Grade I: Mild pain after activities;
  • Grade II: Pain at the beginning of exercises, but without loss of performance in training;
  • Grade III: Pain during and after physical activity, loss of performance in training;
  • Grade IV: partial or total rupture of the patellar tendon.

When the patient presents these symptoms, they should consult a physical therapist or an orthopedist for diagnostic tests, such as X-ray, ultrasound or MRI, to confirm tendinitis and initiate appropriate treatment.

Knee tendinitis is cured through rest and ice application, however, when these measures are not enough, it is recommended to start physiotherapy sessions to strengthen the knee muscles, relieve pain, and improve movement.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for knee tendinitis can be started at home with rest of the affected leg, use of an elastic band around the knee, and application of ice for 15 minutes 3 times a day, for example. However, if the pain does not disappear in 10-15 days, it is important to consult an orthopedist to start taking analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen, to reduce the inflammation of the area and relieve pain.

It is also recommended to have physiotherapy sessions to use electrotherapy devices, and to perform stretching and strengthening exercises, which accelerate the healing process of the affected tendon.

In the most severe cases, where the tendonitis in the knee does not go away with rest, medication and physical therapy after about 3 months, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage done to the knee tendon, but there is usually no such option. necessity because physiotherapy achieves great results.

Physiotherapy for Patellar Tendonitis

Electrotherapeutic equipment such as laser and ultrasound are recommended for pain relief and tissue regeneration. It is necessary to strengthen the muscles of the whole leg, but especially the muscles of the front of the thigh, being also important the exercises of global stretching of the legs, to maintain a good balance between the forces during the day to day. Discover some of the exercises to relieve knee tendinitis.

The mobilization of the patella is very important so that it can move freely over the joint, preventing it from being 'glued', making movement difficult.

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