Nightmare Patellar Tendonitis — Prevention & Treatment
Here's what you need to know about this painful but treatable condition.
13.3.2023
Reading time 9 min

Do you play soccer and feel a sharp pain in your knee after a game or practice? Then it could be patellar tendonitis, also known as a “jumper's knee.” This common injury is caused by overuse of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shin bone.

Don't worry—it's treatable and doesn't have to ruin your soccer season!

Here's what you need to know about this painful but treatable condition.

What causes patellar tendonitis?

Patellar tendonitis usually develops when the same activities or stress patterns are carried out over and over again without adequate rest or recovery time in between.

As with any other muscle or joint injury, patellar tendonitis can also be caused by an imbalance of strength between opposing muscle groups around the knee (such as between your hamstrings and your quadriceps).

Tight muscles can also lead to patellar tendonitis. Training or running on hard surfaces is also crucial, especially in soccer.

Many are not used to this type of load and are particularly exposed to hard artificial turf during winter preparation or running on asphalt.

How can I treat my patellar tendonitis?

The best way to treat patellar tendonitis is tranquillity and physiotherapy exercisesthat target the affected area.

Strengthening exercises that focus on the hip flexors, glutes, quads, and hamstrings can help reduce pressure on the knee joint caused by repetitive movements such as jumping.

One ice therapy can reduce swelling and dampen pain signals sent from the injured area to the brain.

compression bandages can also be used to curb inflammation.

As part of your rehabilitation, you can use the Malliaris et al. (2015) protocol for patellar tendon pain.

Acute phase (0-3 weeks)

The focus of this phase is on reducing pain and inflammation through measures such as rest, cold treatments and gentle knee mobility training.

Isometric quadriceps exercises are ideal for maintaining muscle strength. Cryotherapy and/or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may also be used to reduce pain and inflammation.

An optimal exercise for this phase is couch stretch.

Exercise guide

With this exercise, you stretch the front of your thigh and protect yourself from muscular overload and unnecessary downtime. Kneel in front of a wall or elevation and place one leg on/on it. Make sure that the instep is also against the wall. Put your other leg up and lean your upper body back. If it is too difficult for you to get up, keep your upper body lower at first.

Early subacute phase (3-6 weeks)

The focus of this phase is on increasing strength and function through progressive resistance training for the quadriceps, such as leg press and leg extensors, as well as plyometric exercises, such as single-leg hops and bounds.

Balance and proprioception training, such as single-leg stance and single-leg squats, are also carried out.

A gradual return to sport-specific activities, such as running and jumping, is also included.

An optimal exercise for this phase is Single Leg Stand (Soft Knee).

Correct Design Single Leg Stand

The monopod shows you the state of affairs in the truest sense of the word. Especially after injuries, your ability to stand on one leg cleanly and in a controlled manner worsens. With a slightly bent knee, stand on your leg — for about 20 seconds.

You then close your eyes for five seconds and remember the quality of your execution.

Late subacute phase (6-12 weeks)

The focus of this phase is on continuing sport-specific exercises and drills, such as advanced plyometric exercises, low jumps and various jump variants, as well as sport-specific exercises, such as agility drills and sport-specific movements.

A gradual return to full participation in sport or activity should also be considered.

An optimal exercise for this phase is the squat jump.

How to do Squat Jump correctly

With this exercise, your glutes work explosively and dynamically, which you will feel every time you start in the future. First, stand hip-width apart. The tips of your toes are slightly rotated outwards. Then do a deep squat with a clean leg axis, i.e. with ankle, knee and hip joints in line. From the low position, you now push yourself upwards with a jump. Make sure the landing is clean (all over the foot) and a smooth transition to the next squat.

Return to Sports (12+ weeks)

The focus of this phase is on maintaining strength and preventing re-injuries by continuously performing sport-specific exercises and drills, such as eccentric quadriceps exercises and balance exercises.

An optimal exercise for this phase is reverse Nordic.

Correct execution Reverse Nordic

It not only mobilizes your hips and knees, but also trains your leg muscles eccentrically, i.e. yielding to strength. Get down on your knees and straighten your hips. The instep of your feet should lie flat on the floor. Then slowly lower your upper body backwards towards the floor. You'll feel tension in your lower back and hip muscles. At first, depth isn't important. It is more about the quality of execution. Keep your chin at your chest throughout the exercise to reduce the load on the cervical spine.

conclusion

No one wants their soccer season ruined due to an injury! If you think you have patellar tendonitis, you should see a doctor right away so that it can be properly diagnosed and treated before it gets worse.

With a break, strengthening exercises specially tailored to you, ice treatment and compression wraps, you'll be back on track in no time at all!

Be fearless. Be focused. B42.

Sebastian Huber
physiotherapist
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Sebastian Huber is 28 years old and a passionate physiotherapist. He is currently studying a master's degree in sports physiotherapy at the German Sport University in Cologne. With his knowledge, he has been supporting the TV v. 1932 Aiglsbach e.V.

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