Patellar tendonitis, normally known as jumper’s knee, is a painful injury that affects the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the tibia. According to studies, patellar tendinopathy caused 2.4% of players in the analyzed clubs to miss training sessions or games per season, with an incidence of 0.12 injuries per 1000 hours of sports activity.
Patellar tendonitis treatment is crucial to prevent chronic pain and disability. If left untreated, the condition may worsen, leading to more severe injuries such as tendon tears or rupture, which may require surgery. While surgery may be necessary in severe cases, patellar tendonitis treatment without surgery often relieves pain and restores function. This article will explore the non-surgical treatment options for patellar tendonitis in detail.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Patellar tendonitis treatment aims to lessen swelling and ease uncomfortable signs and symptoms. Surgery for tendonitis is expensive and often reserved for the most serious cases. Non-surgical therapies are frequently used to treat chronic tendinopathies or long-term tendonitis discomfort. Examples of patellar tendonitis treatments without surgery are:
- Rest and Modification of Activity
Patellar tendonitis can be treated non-surgically with rest and activity moderation. Rest involves avoiding or discontinuing activities that irritate the condition to allow the tendon to heal. Activity modification involves changing the kind, intensity, and frequency of regular walking activities to lessen the tendon’s stress. Both strategies try to enhance healing and lessen inflammation without having surgery.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy (PT) is an exercise created to treat tendonitis pain. Tennis elbow, shoulder pain, Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendinopathy, rotator cuff tendinopathy, calcific tendonitis, and pain from tendon rupture can all be treated non-surgically with physical therapy. Stretching, mobility, and eccentric exercises that strengthen the injured muscle and tendon can all be included in your therapy training regimen. A physician advises PT until your soft tissues heal, typically 6 to 8 weeks.
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
NSAIDs prevent the body from producing particular molecules, reducing pain and inflammation. They can be administered topically or orally, and they are frequently combined with rest and activity restriction to treat the symptoms of patellar tendonitis. NSAIDs should be used with caution, though, as prolonged usage may have side effects.
- Cryotherapy and Heat Therapy
Heat treatment includes warm compresses to stimulate blood flow and aid healing, whereas cryotherapy includes ice packs to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Both therapies are combined with rest and other treatments.
- Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy uses high-intensity sound waves to activate the body’s healing mechanisms, lessen pain and inflammation, and encourage tissue regeneration. Although it is considered safe, a skilled healthcare expert should only carry out the procedure.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a non-surgical treatment option for patellar tendonitis. It involves injecting a concentrated solution of the patient’s platelets, which contain growth factors that can stimulate tissue regeneration and healing. PRP therapy is typically used with other treatments, including physical therapy, to manage the symptoms of patellar tendonitis. It is generally considered safe and requires multiple sessions.
Prolotherapy is a combination of dextrose or other irritants. These are injected into the afflicted area to boost the body’s natural healing process and aid tissue regeneration.
Rehabilitation Exercises for Patellar Tendonitis
Rehabilitation exercises are a crucial component of non-surgical treatment for patellar tendonitis, helping to strengthen the affected area, reduce pain, and improve function. Following are rehabilitation exercises for patellar tendonitis treatment without surgery:
- Stretching exercises
Exercises involving stretching are crucial in treating patellar tendonitis. Stretching helps enhance blood flow to the injured area, aiding healing and lessening pain. It also helps to build flexibility and relieve tension. Stretching activities, such as quadriceps, calf, and hamstring stretches, are frequently included in an all-encompassing rehabilitation program that includes other exercises and treatments.
- Strengthening exercises
The recovery process for patellar tendonitis includes strengthening exercises. The quadriceps and hamstrings will gradually gain strength and stamina from these workouts. Leg press, squat, and lunge movements are a few strengthening exercises. A rehabilitation program combines strengthening, stretching, and other exercises and therapies to lessen pain and enhance function.
- Eccentric exercises
Eccentric exercises are strengthening exercises that can be useful in treating patellar tendonitis. These exercises gradually extend the muscle while it is tense, which can assist in improving the affected area’s strength and flexibility. Heel drops and squats are two examples of eccentric workouts for patellar tendonitis.
- Isometric Exercises
While treating patellar tendonitis, isometric exercises, a type of strengthening exercise, can be helpful. With these exercises, you can contract the muscle without moving the joint, which can help build stronger, more resilient muscles. Holding a squat or lunge stance is an example of an isometric exercise for patellar tendonitis.
- Plyometric Exercises
Patellar tendonitis can be effectively treated using plyometric exercises. These workouts contain motions like jumping or hopping and can improve muscle strength and power. Jumping squats and box jumps are two examples of plyometric workouts for patellar tendonitis. Plyometric workouts can be high-risk for some people, so they should only be done under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.
Prevention of Patellar Tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis can be avoided by taking appropriate precautions. Correct technique is essential to stop the onset of this illness. Ensuring that your tools and footwear are appropriate for your activity is also crucial. Patellar tendonitis risk can be decreased by gradually increasing the activity’s duration and intensity.
By providing a range of activities and motions, cross-training can also help to lower the risk of injuries. Patellar tendonitis must be avoided by getting enough rest and recovering properly. These precautions can be included in a regular exercise regimen to help avoid the onset of patellar tendonitis.
Early diagnosis in patellar tendonitis treatment is critical to preventing the problem from becoming chronic and debilitating. Non-surgical options like physical therapy, rest, ice, compression, and medication can be as effective as surgery, especially when diagnosed and treated early.
Additionally, preventive measures such as proper warm-up, stretching, strengthening exercises, and avoiding repetitive high-impact activities can help reduce the risk of developing or recurrent patellar tendonitis. Seeking early treatment and adopting preventive measures are crucial for a faster recovery and long-term prevention of the condition.