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Patella tendinopathy used to be called patella tendinitis and is also called jumpers knee, because it is often associated with activities that involve jumping like basketball and athletics.
Please read how the knee works before reading the following.
It can occur in any propulsive, impact based sports or as a result of a change in loading to the tendon. The patella (knee cap) tendon extends from the bottom of the knee cap and inserts into the tibial tuberosity of the shin bone and takes the forces that are generated by the quads muscle, via the knee cap. The quads muscles work concentrically to straighten the knee e.g. walking up stairs and eccentrically to control the knee from a straight to bend position e.g. walking down stairs.
Patella tendinopathy used to be called tendinitis until research showed that it was not an inflammation, which is what itis refers to. Instead, research shows that there are structural changes to the tendon, its blood supply and its nerves, causing thickening, pain and tenderness. There are different types of patella tendinopathy depending on which part of the tendon is affected, and thats why it is important to see a Physiotherapist, Osteopath or Doctor for a full diagnosis because treatment and prognosis varies.
Treatment will vary but will include a combination of: acupuncture, mobilisation of surrounding joints and muscles, correcting footwear, provision of insoles and strengthening exercises to address the underlying biomechanics that are causing the incorrect loading of the tendon.Eccentric quads strengthening is a crucial component of the treatment of a patella tendinopathy and if carried out rigorously has been proven to be very effective – ask your Physio or Osteo to show you how.
In some cases more invasive procedures like injections, injections and surgery are indicated and we can guide you to the experts for this if need be.
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