The patellar tendon is the thick, extremely strong fibrous structure that extends from the tip of the patella to the anterior tibial tuberosity, and connects the patella to the tibia bone.
1) A bit of anatomy:
The knee joint is made up of 3 bones: the upper femur, the lower tibia and the patella, a small mobile bone in front of the knee. During flexion/extension movements of the knee, the patella slides on the femur. It is a true reflection pulley for the quadriceps (anterior thigh muscle).
2) What is patellar tendinopathy? What are the injury mechanisms?
This tendinopathy, also called “jumper’s knee”, is more common in athletes practicing a sport involving repeated jumps (eg volleyball, basketball, etc.).
This type of injury is related to overuse of the tendon, resulting in micro-tears in it. The body is usually able to repair itself, but as these tears multiply, they cause pain due to inflammation and weakening of the tendon.
By force, the tendon matrix is damaged, resulting in tendinopathy. The causes of triggering are therefore regularly the same:
- Sudden change in the volume or intensity of training
- Unsuitable equipment (worn shoes, floor surface too hard, etc.)
- Poor motor control and muscle weakness
- Poor technique in sport
3) What are the symptoms?
This type of injury can appear gradually or following a specific event. The intensity of the problem will produce more or less severe symptoms. Among these, we find:
- A precise and localized pain on the patellar tendon, accentuated with physical effort and reduced at rest
- Muscle tension, which can be felt in the thigh
In more severe cases, this pain can be constant and present even at rest.
4) Is that bad ?
Patellar tendinopathy is a pathology frequently encountered in athletes. It’s usually relatively easy to get rid of with early treatment.
However, it can become problematic and more difficult to treat when the irritation has been present for longer, and when the intensity is high.
5) Is surgery compulsory?
The surgical procedure remains exceptional and will only be considered in the event of repeated failures of conservative treatments or in the event of complications linked to the absence or poor initial treatment.
6) Can I continue to train? What reflexes should you take?
This pathology needs to be taken seriously from the start in order to avoid complications and aggravations.
At the onset of the first symptoms, a temporary cessation of activities that cause pain is recommended. These activities can be replaced by others, which relieve the area and do not recreate the pain.
Finally, refrain from applying ice and taking anti-inflammatories, as these modalities generally interfere with the healing of the strip.
Then, it is the importance of the symptoms and the improvement of the situation which will determine the duration of the relative cessation of the activity.
The best option should be discussed with your doctor.
7) How is rehabilitation going?
The physiotherapy sessions start by paying attention to the painful symptomatology of the subject. Respecting this, the work will focus on:
- Work on joint mobility and tissue flexibility
- affected lower
- limb Global and specific muscle strengthening (strength, neuromuscular control, stability, etc.)
- Re-athletics and getting back into sport (with technical work if necessary)
8) Will I regain my pre-injury level?
This pathology, although having a favorable prognosis, needs to be taken seriously from the start.
However, provided you follow the instructions and recommendations provided by your surgeon and your therapist, you will return to a normal sports activity.
9) What can I do to speed up the process?
You are the main player in your rehabilitation.
In order to speed up the healing process, be sure to follow the recommendations of the health professionals with whom you work.
Laziness or, on the contrary, overzealousness, will be your enemies.
Conversely, discipline, rigor, perseverance as well as a positive and voluntary state of mind will help you get back in top shape as soon as possible!