This blog was written by Jordan Estrada, DC. He goes over the causes and symptoms associated with patellar tendonitis, a common injury among athletes.
The summer of 2020 is here, and with the current situation we are living in, almost everyone is itching to get outside and be active. From running trails to bootcamp classes broadcast via Zoom, people are trying be active and as safe as possible at the same time. However, some have had to make changes in their regular workout routine or have had to work from home where their normal activity level drops. With some of these changes, some people may have started noticing discomfort or pain in various areas of their bodies. Of these things, knee pain has been very common more recently. In particular, a specific type of knee pain that is diagnosed as patellar tendonitis.
Patellar Tendonitis and Knee Pain
So, what exactly is patellar tendonitis? Great question. In simple terms, it is defined as “inflammation” of your patellar tendon. To dive even further, let’s go over some anatomy of the knee. Your knee joint is comprised of 3 bones that meet and articulate with one another: The femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap). They all are connected by the patellar tendon, which extends from your Quadriceps (front of thigh) muscles, attaches onto the patella and attaches onto the front of the tibia. Now, the most important question is, how does it get inflamed?
The patellar tendon can get inflamed for various reasons. The most common reason is due to an over usage or increased load of the patellar tendon with impact-related activities (walking, running, jumping, etc.). It is commonly referred to as “jumper’s knee.” Most people will experience this pain in the portion of the tendon below the patella. However, resolving an overuse injury can often require more work than just taking time from activity to rest.
Exercises for Patellar Tendonitis
Although resting will usually reduce the frequency of pain, you may still experience pain with any increased activity out of your day-to-day routine. This may be because the patellar tendon is compensating for a potential weakness or tightness in the muscles that attach to the knee joint. These muscles include the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and the calves (gastrocnemius/soleus muscles). To address this issue, here are 3 exercises you can do to reduce the pain and prevent further injury:
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling, or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.
1) Quad Foam Roll
- Place the foam roller on your thighs and balance on your elbows in a plank position.
- Brace your core and avoid arching or rounding your low back or lumbar spine.
- Roll from just above the knee caps to right below the hip area. Scan for tender areas.
- Once you locate a tender area hold and/or oscillate for 10 – 20 seconds or until the pain lessens, then move to another tender area.
- To place a greater emphasizes on one leg cross the back leg over the other leg or just simply shift your body weight to one side.
- To isolate the inner portion of the quadriceps widen your legs and rotate your feet out.
- To isolate the outer portion of the quadriceps bring your legs together, touch the toes and rotate your heels out.
- 8. Continue rolling for no more than 2 minutes.
2) Hamstring Stretch with Band
- While lying face up begin by placing the band under the foot.
- With the band securely placed, raise your leg up by flexing the hip and knee.
- The foot will be slightly flexed with your toes pointing towards you. This is the starting position.
- Slowly straighten the knee by pushing your heel towards the ceiling.
- You will feel a stretch in the back of your thigh/hamstring.
- Hold the stretch for 30 – 45 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 30-45 second holds, twice a day.
3) Glute Bridge
- Begin by lying flat on your back.
- Place your feet on the floor, underneath the bend in your knees, and in line with your hips.
- Roll your pelvis back towards the floor, lessening the gap between your back and the floor.
- From here, press your feet into the floor, with a focus on the heels.
- Squeeze your gluteal muscles and brace your core before beginning the movement.
- Now, lift your hips off the floor until your hips and torso make a straight line.
- Maintain the contractions in your core and glutes and hold this position for 2-3 seconds at the top of the motion.
- With a slow and controlled motion, return to the starting position.
- Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Airrosti Stops Knee Pain Fast
If any of these exercises cause you increased pain, please discontinue them. It is recommended you perform these exercises (spread out) 2-3 times daily for more relief. If you are working around your exercise regimen, it is recommended you perform the ‘Quad Foam Roll’ and ‘Glute Bridge’ prior to exercise, and the ‘Hamstring Stretch with Band’ after exercise.
If your knee pain isn’t improving after implementing these exercises, we’re here to help. You can schedule an appointment with an Airrosti provider near you by calling (800)-404-6050 or visiting our website. Our providers assess the root of your pain and treat directly at the source. We also over telehealth appointments.
Click here to learn more about telehealth and schedule your virtual appointment today.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.