Recently experienced a patellar tendinopathy injury and you’re unsure about your next steps?
It’s understandable you may be confused as often patellar injuries aren’t explained very well, it can be a long recovery process and an unclear path dependent on your progress.
Patellar tendinopathy affects the knee and in turn, can affect the way you walk, the way you run or the way you play your favourite sports potentially meaning you miss out on valuable training time.
So we’ve written this blog to help you to stay in the game and give you some clarity on what a patellar injury really means and the six key steps to manage the recovery process that comes with it.
What Is Patellar Tendinopathy?
Patellar tendinopathy, commonly known as jumper’s knee, is a prevalent overuse injury characterized by pain and dysfunction in the patellar tendon.
This condition predominantly affects athletes involved in activities that require repetitive jumping and landing motions such as athletics-style sports including hurdles, long jump and high jump.
Patellar tendinopathy is a frustrating and debilitating injury, plus, its management is poorly understood, which can lead to mismanagement. But to help you manage your recovery better we’ve included six key factors to managing patellar tendinopathy and maximising results during the rehab process.
Step 1: Get An Accurate Diagnosis
The first step in managing patellar tendinopathy is obtaining an accurate diagnosis. This typically involves a thorough clinical examination, including detailed patient history and physical assessment.
The presence of localized pain, tenderness over the patellar tendon, and pain during activities such as jumping and squatting are key indicators of tendinopathy.
X-rays and MRIs are not required for the diagnosis, and can often delay the rehabilitative process.
Step 2: Understand Tendinopathy Injuries
Any tendinopathy injury can be frustrating for both athletes and individuals leading an active lifestyle.
One of the reasons for this frustration is the prolonged healing process associated with tendinopathies, which can often take longer than other soft tissue injuries.
Unlike muscle strains or ligament sprains that generally heal within a few weeks, tendons have a relatively poor blood supply, making them more susceptible to slow healing and tissue degeneration.
The slow pace of recovery can test one’s patience and resilience, requiring individuals to adopt a long-term perspective and commit to a comprehensive rehabilitation program.
Understanding the nature of tendinopathies and their extended healing timelines is crucial in managing expectations and remaining motivated throughout the recovery journey.
Step 3: Load Management
Load management has emerged as a key principle in the management of patellar tendinopathy. Instead of complete rest, it is now recognized that appropriately dosed loading is necessary for tendon adaptation and recovery.
The load applied to the tendon should be carefully managed to avoid excessive stress while still promoting tissue healing and remodelling.
This involves adjusting training volume, intensity, and frequency to find the optimal balance between tendon recovery and progression.
Step 4: Managing Your Pain
During tendon rehabilitation, it’s important to expect some discomfort. Mild to moderate pain during exercises is considered normal and even beneficial as it indicates appropriate loading for tissue remodelling.
However, it’s essential to differentiate between acceptable pain and excessive or lingering pain. Watching how the knee responds 24 hours after activity can be helpful in guiding progressions during the rehabilitation process.
Step 5: Strength Training
Gradual strengthening of the glutes and quadriceps forms an integral part of the rehabilitation process.
Both isometric and eccentric exercises have shown promising results in the management of patellar tendinopathy.
These exercises promote tendon remodelling and increased load tolerance. Below are some examples of exercises from our YouTube channel that can be incorporated throughout the rehab process.
Step 6: Gradual Return to Sport
Returning to sports or activities should be a gradual process. Following a period of activity modification and strengthening, the individuals can make a gradual return to activities that were previously troublesome, such as running, jumping and cutting.
Poor management of patellar tendinopathy- such as an early return to sport- can lead to an increased risk of re-injury and sub-optimal athletic performance.
Struggling With A Knee Injury? Shockwave Therapy Could Help!
If you’ve recently had a knee injury and you’re in the midst of a recovery you think is never gonna end, shockwave therapy could help you accelerate the process AND get you Dublin Marathon ready!
Here at Pain and Performance Clinic, we’re passionate about getting you back to doing the activities you love without injuries getting in the way and stopping you from making the progress you strive for.
Right now, we’re offering you the chance to book a free shockwave telephone consultation where you can speak to one of our expert physiotherapists about your pain problems, ask your important questions and get clarity from the answers about how shockwave therapy can help you!
If you’ve had enough of knee pain ruining your favourite sports and activities arrange a free shockwave therapy telephone consultation by calling our Lucan clinic at 086 787 6358.
Other Free Resources For Shockwave Therapy & Injuries
Read Our Blog – Shockwave Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis
Read Our Blog – Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome