Knee pain is a common injury in active adults. It’s an injury that can seem mild when it first starts — a pain you feel you can continue to play through. However, if not diagnosed and treated properly, tendonitis can become a permanent issue that can prevent you from doing the types of activity you’ve come to love.
What Causes Tendonitis?
Tendonitis is the inflammation of the patellar tendon. Tendons attach muscles to bone and the patellar tendon connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. You use your patellar tendon every day to straighten and bend your leg.
The patellar tendon is very durable, however, if consistently used under high stress, it can break down over time. This makes tendonitis particularly common for athletes who repetitively jump and it’s sometimes referred to as “jumper’s knee.”
Symptoms of Tendonitis
Pain from tendonitis will occur right around the patellar tendon, or around your kneecap. You would feel it in the front, side, or back of your knee, but it is most commonly felt right below your kneecap.
While any leg movement can aggravate your tendonitis, excessive leg movements (squats, jumps, etc.) can accentuate the pain.
Here are some signs to look for when determining if you have tendonitis:
- Does the pain last for more than two days or comes back after physical activity? If so, you may have signs of early stages of tendonitis.
- Do you experience moderate pain during the activity that only gets worse after you’ve stopped?
- Is the pain preventing you from doing both exercise and every day activities? Do you still experience pain throughout the day, even after resting?
You need to see a doctor as soon as you start experiencing knee pain. The earlier a doctor can diagnose your tendonitis, the easier it will be to treat.
Treatments for Tendonitis
First and foremost, you should rest your knee. Stop doing the activities that are aggravating your patellar tendon. You can also use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help with the inflammation. Ice is another recommendation to help alleviate the swelling in your knee.
The best way to treat tendonitis is to see your doctor. They can determine if you indeed have tendonitis and the severity of the diagnosis. Most doctors will also recommend that you see a physical therapist to help you strengthen the muscles around the patellar tendon to prevent it from wearing down again.
In severe cases (if the tendon is torn), your doctor may recommend surgery to fix the tendon. You may be required to wear a cast or knee brace to stabilize the area in order for it to heal properly. They will also recommend physical therapy. A physical therapist, like a physical therapist from AmeriWell Clinics, could be able to dramatically help your knees.
If you are experiencing knee pain and believe it to be tendonitis, reach out to your doctor. They can help you identify the problem area and recommend the proper treatment. You don’t have to give up doing the things you love because of knee pain. “Fighting through the pain” is not the answer. Call your doctor today so you can get back to living the active lifestyle you love.