Patellar tendonitis occurs when the patellar tendon, underneath your kneecap, gets inflamed. If you experience a patellar tendon tear, you require medical attention. But if you just have patellar tendon pain from your knee, you should seek treatment for patellar tendonitis. Patellar tendonitis treatment may include a knee injection of steroidal medicine with some local anesthesia. Come to our sports injury and pain management clinic to get your knee pain evaluation and treatment. Meet our knee specialist Febin Melepura M.D. to get the pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best sports pain management specialists in NYC.
The patellar tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone gets a real workout if you’re involved in certain sports. Those that require a lot of jumping — such as basketball and volleyball — can set you up for a knee injury like patellar tendonitis. The repetitive movement results in tears in the tendon, which can cause a lot of knee pain. But while basketball players are at a high risk, anyone who plays sports can develop a patellar tendon tear.
- Pain is present at the start of your workout or just after completion of one.
- Pain gradually worsens until you can’t exercise or play your sport anymore.
- Finally, the pain interferes with regular, daily motions, such climbing stairs.
You use your patellar tendon constantly for day-to-day activities. But the addition of competitive sports can really strain your knee joints. Patellar tendonitis is considered an overuse injury, meaning you’re doing something that requires the same repetitive movements with little to no breaks in the action.
Additionally, if you choose to suffer and not treat your case of patellar tendon pain, the injury only worsens. The pain increases and may lead to a more serious medical issue. So, don’t put off treatment for tendonitis of your knee.
You may be more likely to get patellar tendon tears if:
- You’re extremely active. If you play sports every day or a variety of sports that all require running or jumping.
- Your leg muscles are naturally tight. Quads and hamstrings help reduce the strain on your knees. So, if those large muscles are regularly tight, it puts more strain on your patellar tendon.
- Your balance is an issue. Sometimes, because of overuse, the muscles of one leg are much stronger than the other, which can lead to what’s called a muscular imbalance. This can cause your muscles to pull irregularly on your patellar tendon, which can lead to injury.
Testing to Confirm Diagnosis
Since there are a variety of things that can be wrong in a complex part of the body like your knee – including a meniscus tear, bursitis and arthritis, not to mention spraining and breaking a bone – your Midtown doctor may recommend a few tests. These include:
- X-rays, which deliver a picture of all the bones involved to make sure the pain isn’t a secondary symptom of something else.
- Ultrasounds, which use sound waves to form a picture, to reveal the patella tendon and whether or not you have a patellar tendon tear.
- Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, which shows more delicate tissues, like your tendon and meniscus.
Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis
Once your Manhattan doctor has confirmed that you indeed have one or more patellar tendon tears, treatment for patellar tendonitis can commence. As with most injuries, surgery is the last resort.
Instead, your doctor looks to start with over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Then it’s on to physical therapy, a standard patellar tendonitis treatment. Some things to do to help strengthen the surrounding muscles and increase flexibility include:
- Stretching exercises, easily added to your pre- and post-workout routine
- Strengthening exercises aimed specifically at your quadriceps, which either assist your patella’s performance or becomes a strain on your patellar tendon
- Using a patellar tendon strap during workouts to help support your kneecap and relieve pain
- Doing iontophoresis therapy, which uses medicine on the surface of your skin to conduct small electrical charges that pushes the medication into the skin wherever it’s needed
Other Patellar Tendonitis Treatment
Another treatment for patellar tendonitis is getting injections of strong medications directly into the joint. Some relieve pain; others help new tissue form to heal your injured tendon. If nothing else works, your New York City sports doctor may suggest surgical intervention to physically repair your patellar tendon.
You can treat patellar tendon pain at home the way you would any minor injury: by alternating ice and heat applications and elevating your leg while resting. However, if you continue working out without taking care, other symptoms may begin to appear, such as worsening patellar tendon pain, swelling or redness.
Do you have any questions about the patellar tendonitis treatment we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best rated knee specialist Febin Melepura MD of sports pain management and injury clinic in NYC? Please contact our office for consultation with the pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.