5 Things You Shouldn’t Do With Patellar Tendonitis


Want to stop the pain of patellar tendonitis? Avoid doing these five things.

Knee pain is a common complaint among U.S. adults, with 25% reporting such pain. Although there can be several causes, ranging from arthritis to a ligament tear, patellar tendonitis ranks as one of the most frequent sources of knee pain. 

Patellar tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone or tibia. It’s what enables you to straighten your knee. The condition is also known as jumper’s knee since it’s often seen among athletes who play sports that involve a lot of jumping or abrupt changes in directions, like basketball or volleyball. Those repetitive actions can strain the tendon, leading to inflammation and pain. Keep reading to learn how patellar tendonitis can be treated successfully and what activities you should avoid.

What patellar tendonitis feels like

Pain from patellar tendonitis typically centers at the front of the lower knee but can also be felt under the kneecap. Swelling may also be present. Pain may be more pronounced when bending and straightening the leg.

The pain may be minor at first, then gradually intensify. Because patella tendonitis can mimic other knee conditions, your doctor will typically conduct a thorough physical exam and possibly order X-rays to get a better picture of your knee.

5 things you shouldn’t do while treating patellar tendonitis

Rest and physical therapy to strengthen the thigh muscles around the knee are effective in treating patellar tendonitis. Surgery is rarely recommended. Recovery depends on the severity of the tendonitis, but you can expect to feel better in a few weeks. However, during that time, take note of these don’t’s to speed up your healing:

  1. Don’t play through the pain. It’s easy to go by the old adage: “No pain, no gain.” But that won’t work with patellar tendonitis. In fact, it could make the pain worse or increase the risk of a more serious injury, including a tendon tear. So rest and avoid activities that increase the pain, such as jumping and running up stairs. Do: Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to ease the pain or apply an ice pack to the knee to reduce swelling.

  2. Don’t rest too much. This may seem contradictory to No. 1, but it’s true: Not doing anything will continue to weaken the tendon. Do: Modify your exercise program with gentle hip strengthening exercises and low-impact aerobics like walking and swimming. 

  3. Don’t get steroid injections. Steroid injections can weaken and possibly rupture the tendon, so they are not the best treatment option for patellar tendonitis. Do: As mentioned earlier, OTC anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen are safer bets for reducing pain. Instead of steroid injections, strengthen and stretch the thigh muscles around the knee (the quadriceps and hamstrings) with targeted exercises.

  4. Don’t rely on patellar straps or knee braces. While these devices can provide stability and a measure of pain reduction, they fail to get to the root of the issue, which is most likely improper form when running or jumping and weak muscles around the knee. Do: Avoid using knee braces as much as possible and instead concentrate on exercises to strengthen the thigh muscles. Improving your running form can also help prevent further injury.

  5. Don’t rush back into your exercise routine. The pain is gone, so you’re good to go, right? Not quite. Rushing back into a strenuous exercise routine after a period of rest only raises the chances of a re-injury. Do: Gradually increase the intensity of your workout to protect your knee from further damage.

We’re the knee care specialists

Don’t let knee pain get in the way of your favorite activity. Visit New York Bone & Joint Specialists, a leading sports medicine clinic, for treatment. We are experts in knee injuries and will develop a plan to reduce your pain and get you back on the playing field. Contact us today for a consultation.

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