Patellar tendinitis is an injury that adds substantial strain on the front part of the knee joint, right below the knee cap. This injury is quite common among cyclists and runners but does not occur abruptly. It starts off as a twinge and progresses rapidly to debilitating knee pain that can put an individual out of his/her sport or activity.
Causes of patellar tendinitis
Overuse is the main cause of patellar tendinitis. Engaging in activities that involve constant jumping or rapid changes in direction is stressful to the patellar ligament. Those who play sports including volleyball, basketball and running face a high risk for developing patellar tendinitis.
Patellar tendinitis can also be instigated by an abrupt, unexpected injury such as a fall. Remember that landing heavily on the knees will lead to damage to the patellar ligament which results to the development of patellar tendinitis.
Signs and symptoms of patellar tendinitis
An indicative symptom of patellar tendinitis is pain in the area right below the kneecap. Certain activities such as running, walking, kneeling, squatting or jumping can cause increased discomfort and pain. In most cases, swelling is also linked with patellar tendinitis.
Treatment of patellar tendinitis
It is important to note that patellar tendinitis is considered as a soft tissue injury and must be treated accordingly. This injury requires the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Take note that rest and application of an ice pack are vital aspects of the treatment
Once an individual is diagnosed with patellar tendinitis, it is vital that the affected area is allowed to rest immediately. Remember that any further movement or stress will only aggravate the condition and prolong the recovery period. It is vital to keep the damaged area as still as possible by keeping it immobilized.
Application of ice
The application of ice is the most vital part of the treatment. This will provide the greatest effect on minimizing bleeding, pain and swelling. You have to apply ice as soon as possible after the injury.
The recommended method is to place crushed ice in a plastic bag and applied over the affected area. You can still use a commercial cold pack and even a bag or frozen peas. When ice is used, you have to be careful not to apply directly on the skin since it can lead to ice burns and cause further damage on the skin. Make sure that you will cover the ice in a moist towel since this generally provides the ideal protection for the skin.
The application must last for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the initial 48-72 hours. It is also recommended to apply ice for as long as it is comfortable to the individual. Once discomfort is experienced, you have to remove the ice. Remember to avoid using any form of heat at the injury site such as heat creams, heat lamps and saunas. These will increase the bleeding, pain and swelling of the injury.