Jan 26, 2013

Knee Tendonitis

The inflammation and swelling of any of the tendons around the knee is referred to as knee tendonitis; it is one of the most common causes of knee pain. There are several tendons attaching muscle to bone around the knee joint, including the quadriceps, hamstring, patellar and iliotibial band.

Usually it is one or more of these tendons that are implicated in knee tendonitis; they attach to bone below and inside the knee joint. These tendons assist the muscles in movements of the leg and knee.

The Causes and Risks of Knee Tendonitis

Knee tendonitis usually occurs when there is a sudden twisting action of the knee joint, injuring one or more tendons. As people age, tendons and other tissues in the body weaken and become brittle; this makes tendonitis more common in older people. Middle-aged runners are especially at risk.

People, who play fast-paced sports with rapid changes of direction, are at risk of developing knee tendonitis, as are those who play or exercise on uneven surfaces. Knee tendonitis is more common among runners, skiers, basketball, tennis and netball players and footballers.

The Signs of Knee Tendonitis

The first sign will be a twinge of mild pain in or near the knee joint, usually during activity. If the activity is continued, the pain increases and will be worse when the knee is moved. The actual tendon affected will be painful to the touch. Climbing stairs, standing up from a sitting position and in the evening will be when the pain is increased.

Swelling could be obvious around the tendon and the area might look red and have some heat. This is due to the inflammation of the tendon and the accumulation of fluid.

The Treatment of Knee Tendonitis

The sooner treatment for knee tendonitis is started, the faster the recovery will be. It is not necessary to see a doctor at first as conservative, home treatment strategies will be effective and what a doctor would recommend.

Rest is essential to allow the damaged tissues to heal. It can take several weeks before you are able to return to full sporting activities, so be prepared to be patient. Returning too soon risks further damage and a more serious injury.

Ice will reduce inflammation and help to relieve the pain. Apply an ice pack immediately you feel the pain and continue this every few hours for several days, until the pain eases. Keep the ice pack on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Elevate the affected leg while you are resting; this helps to relieve pain as well as reduce swelling and inflammation. When the symptoms have subsided, return to activity gradually to allow time for the tendon and muscles to strengthen again.

If these home remedies don’t ease the pain, or if you find the knee tendonitis returns, see a doctor for a firm diagnosis and other treatment methods.

The Prevention of Knee Tendonitis

There are ways you can lessen the risk of knee injuries. Follow these tips for the prevention of knee tendonitis:
  • Warm up and cool down when you are involved in exercise or sport. These steps are vital in the prevention of any injury as you need to prepare your joints and soft tissue for the activity to come.
  • Stretches are an important part of your warm up and cool down. Doing a few minutes of stretches every day helps to keep your tendons flexible and less at risk of injury. To be effective, a stretch should be held for twenty seconds and a moderate burning sensation should be experienced.
  • Strengthen your leg muscles to better cope with the activities you do. Focus on exercises that strengthen all leg muscles as these will also keep tendons strong as well.
  • The shoes you wear for your activity must be designed for that type of sport. Shoes to prevent knee tendonitis need to have good ankle and foot support and cushioning for the foot. Wearing the correct shoes will help to keep your knees safe from injury.
  • Avoid running on uneven surfaces, which put you at risk of twisting or turning the knee.
After a knee injury, wear a knee brace, or use strapping, while you are actually exercising or playing sport. Gradually reduce the time you wear it as you don’t want your muscles to become dependant on the extra support.


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