Arizona Orthopedic Surgery Solutions for Patella Tendonitis
What is Patella Tendonitis
Patella tendonitis, also known as Jumper’s Knee, is when the patellar tendon, the tissue which connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone), is injured. The function of the patellar tendon is to work alongside the front thigh muscles, such as your quadricep and others, to be able to stretch the knee to be able to kick, run, and jump. Athletes who jump often, like basketball and volleyball players, are most susceptible due to the repeated stress exerted on the knee. Rest and physical therapy exercises combined with stretching can rehabilitate the stressed and weakened knee. It is imperative to keep loose and balanced as tight leg muscles and imbalanced leg strength can cause patella tendonitis. Likewise, playing on concrete, blacktop, and other hard surfaces, such as most school playgrounds and gymnasiums, can lead to jumper’s knee. It is important to wear shoes with proper support and maintain a healthy weight, as unsupportive insoles and excess weight will stress the knee. Pain and sensitivity around the kneecap, patellar tendon, and in the back of your lower kneecap is the first sign of patella tendonitis. Additionally, inflammation and pain when walking, running, jumping, bending, and straightening your leg are warning signs as well.
Patella Tendonitis Diagnosis
A doctor will ask about your medical history as well as your physical activities, the symptoms you’ve noticed, how long the symptoms have been present, and what you have tried to do to relieve the pain. The doctor will analyze your knee, check for a specific site of pain, and examine the range of motion by maneuvering the leg. A doctor may use an x-ray to make sure there isn’t a kneecap fracture or dislocation while an MRI and ultrasound can distinguish any injury to the patellar tendon and soft tissue.
Patella Tendonitis Treatment - Non Surgical
Normally, jumper’s knee needs time to rest. The best thing to do is cease all physically exerting activities agitating the knee. Elevating the knee above the heart will keep blood flowing and prevent swelling. Applying ice for twenty minutes at a time, never directly on the skin, will help reduce inflammation too. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can be taken to alleviate pain while stretching will increase flexibility and strengthening exercises should be performed to enhance the muscles in and around the knee.
Patella Tendonitis Treatment - Surgical
In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to fix a damaged patellar tendon. Formerly, a surgeon would be open the knee to scrape the kneecap and tendon. Arthroscopic surgery is the preferred method as it is less invasive with a faster recovery time. Four small incisions are made to the knee and a high definition camera is inserted to be able to guide the surgeon while operating on the kneecap and patellar tendon.