Training Time: Patellar Tendinitis

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Training Time with Max Benton

Max Benton is the Cavaliers Athletic Trainer and tends to the immediate medical needs of the team’s players. Most of his duties center around preventative medicine, treatment, and rehabilitation.

This information should not be used as diagnosis of a particular condition and is intended only to be informative. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult a doctor.

PATELLAR TENDINITIS:

On any professional sports team, you will undoubtedly see players move on and off the injured list with an all too common ailment—patellar tendinitis. Generally, high-impact sports, such as basketball, produce the greatest number of cases of patellar tendinitis, but athletes in a variety of sports can develop it.

WHAT IS IT?:

Like all forms of tendinitis, patellar is an inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the kneecap (patella) and the shin (tibia), stemming from overuse of the knee.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?:

Athletes involved in the following sports are more likely to develop patellar tendinitis: basketball, long distance running, volleyball, racquet sports, long jumping, mountain climbing, figure skating, soccer, squats (weightlifting). The most common way for it to develop is from pounding and/or repeating the same motion with the knee. Other factors include the following:

  • Sudden increase in time, type, and intensity of an activity
  • Repeated training on a hard surface
  • Poor conditioning
  • Poor strength in muscles surrounding the knee

    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?:

    Pain and tenderness are usually associated with the onset of patellar tendinitis, and the area also becomes inflamed and can swell. You may notice the knee feeling tight and the tendon may feel like it is “squeaking” during an activity.

    At the onset, you can feel pain before and after an activity, but it usually diminishes or disappears during the exercise. If you do not rest properly, the pain, inflammation, and tenderness of the tendon will be present before, during, and after an activity and will increase in intensity. At that stage, if you continue to exercise on the inflamed tendon, you could cause permanent damage.

    WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS?:

    To help ward off patellar tendinitis, you should try to maintain adequate rest between physical activity and workouts. Keeping muscles in the surrounding area strong and flexible (including the knee) can also help.

    If you develop patellar tendinitis, ceasing the activity will start the rehabilitation process. Applying ice, taking anti-inflammatory medicines, and elevating the knee will also help. You should also look to correct predisposing factors for developing tendinitis. At the same time, you should also try to maintain active during the rehabilitation process by strengthening the surrounding muscles and keeping up your fitness in activities that do not stress the knees, such as swimming.