Patellar tendonitis

The tendon that connects the knee cap, or patella, with your shin bone is known as the patellar tendon. Without it, you couldn’t extend your lower leg to do things such as jump, kick a ball, pedal a bicycle, or run. But when you do these activities repeatedly, or if you have problems with alignment in your legs, feet or hips, this tendon can become overly stressed, causing it to become inflamed. This condition, which is called patellar tendonitis or jumper’s knee, is most often seen in bicyclists, soccer and basketball players, and runners.

Common symptoms of patellar tendonitis include swelling, pain and tenderness right below the kneecap; pain may worsen when you walk or run, especially down a hill or stairs. If you think you may have this condition, your doctor  can make a diagnosis by having you walk, run or squat to see if this causes pain and to examine your alignment. He or she may order X-rays, ultrasounds and other tests to rule out other causes of the pain, such as bone problems or tears in the cartilage below or behind your kneecap, or to get a detailed view of the patellar tendon.

If it’s established that you have patellar tendonitis, there are a number of measures you can take to get your knee on the road to recovery. You’ll need to rest the knee by avoiding the activities that caused the inflammation in the first place, and by staying away from exercise that causes knee pain. Your sports medicine specialist may give you the go-ahead to keep in shape with low-impact activities such as running in a pool, and you might also enlist the help of a band that wraps just below the kneecap, which helps siphon strain away from your patellar tendon.

You may also need to perform stretches to ease the condition, or learn exercises to strengthen the patellar tendon, and muscles around the patella; increasing the strength of your quadriceps muscles can also help. Finally, it may be necessary to learn better techniques for jumping or kicking to reduce the strain you put on your patellar tendon; a sports medicine specialist can help you do this.

The same methods that can help your knee heal also can help you prevent the return of patellar tendonitis: Keeping your muscles strong and well-stretched, and making sure you have good technique when it comes to motions you make repeatedly, such as jumping and landing. Finally, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t try to play through pain; addressing knee pain when you first notice it maximizes the chances that you will fully recover from an injury.

How do you avoid a pulled muscle?

Critical warm-up tips to avoid muscle pulls

You wake up early intending to start the day with your morning training.  Throw on your work out clothes, do a few stretches, and off you go.  What is wrong with this picture?

A few key things to understand.

1.  In the morning, the body is tight.  Over the course of the day, it loosens up.  If you plan to wake up and train first thing in the morning – keep this in mind.  Your brain may be geared up to get started, but you have to allow your body to catch up.  You may have a lot of energy in the morning, but you are still stiff compared to later in the day.

2.  Stretching while cold can be a recipe for a muscle, tendon or ligament pull.   Most substances are more flexible when warm than they are when cold – your body is no exception.  The point of a pre-training stretching is the open up range of motion and warm up prior to all-out activity.  But to do this right, you need to follow a natural order.  This natural order is:

A) Warm up your insides.  Maybe you are gung ho to get started, but doing a bit of deep breathing before you start running around will serve you well.  If you heart and lungs are challenged a bit by deep breathing, before your muscles are screaming for them to keep up, they’ll be better prepared to handle the job.

B) Break a sweat.  Warm up your muscles and joints with light activity.  Ease into it.  By the time you’ve broken a sweat, you’ll be ready to ramp up.

C) Ideally, once you have broken a sweat, you can go through some range of motion movements (aka stretches) to make sure your body is loose and ready to go.

Why go through a joint’s range of motion?  Take the ankle for example.  You breath, loosen up a bit, break a sweat and your feeling good.  But you don’t take your ankles through their range-of-motion paces, you just head off on a run.  As you run, you step off a curb at an awkward angle.  You strain a ligament as a result and are laid up on injured reserve for a few days because of it.  How could you avoid this?  One way to help is take your ankle through full ankle circles after you warm up, but prior to your run.  Most muscle pulls, tendon or ligament strains are the result of a sudden force that is too much for the tissue to withstand.  A little more flexibility can defend against such situations…

Okay, you say.  This all sounds good, but looks like it takes some time.  You have a couple of options that can also help.    Hot shower- The heat will bring up your circulation and get your blood moving – the muscles are ready for action.  Another option if you are short on time are QiVantage Performance Sprays – they are like a warm up in a bottle. Spray them on to boost circulation, which is what you need to get things rolling, and you can save the shower for when you are done working out!