The knee joint comprises not only bones but also several tendons and muscles. Under increased tension brought on by physical activity or trauma these tendons may become inflamed, torn or degraded. When this occurs it is said that one has knee tendonitis. It seem a classic case of dammed if you do dammed if you don’t as active individuals are the ones most at risk due to the increased tension on the knee as a result of their active life style.
There are various types of knee tendonitis such as Patella tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee), quadriceps tendonitis and Illiotibial band friction syndrome, the most common of which being Patella tendonitis. Patella tendonitis / jumper’s knee occur as a result of excessive usage of the knee joint or increased tension brought on by physical activities such as running and jumping. Other contributory factors include aging, rheumatoid arthritis which is known to degrade cartilage and cause inflammation at multiple body joints.
Symptoms vary according to degree of inflammation and the particular tendons involved. The most common symptom is pain, the degree and frequency of pain indicates the severity of the problem. In mild cases the pain occurs before the undertaking of any physical activity. As the problem progresses pain will occur during activities such as running and brisk walking. The problem is most severe when pain is consistent and simple activities like kneeling or climbing stairs become quite intimidating. The other common symptom is swelling around the joint. If degradation of cartilage occurs then one may hear a grinding or popping sound when flexing the knee.
Treatment of knee tendonitis is dependent on the severity of the problem. A physician will carry out certain physical examination to determine the severity of the problem and thus develop an ideal treatment plan. In some cases an MRI or an ultra sound may be required to properly diagnose the problem.
For individuals who experience mild cases of knee tendonitis treatment is pretty straight forward, it involves taking a break from activities that increases tension on the knee and the consumption of non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. In some cases the application the application of ice packs will do the same job as the anti-inflammatory medication. When symptoms no longer persist it is advised that one take up a squatting and stretching to strengthen quadriceps and calf muscles as this will help to reduce ones risk of a recurring problem.
In moderate cases it is advised that with the aforementioned treatment method one restrict the movement of the knee joint. If conditions persist then a steroidal injection might be required. In severe cases it is advised that one take an extensive break from sports related activities, at least 3 months in addition to the aforementioned treatment methods. If conditions persist then surgery though a last resort might be required.
While it is good to know about treating this problem it is even better to know how to stop it from recurring or even happening in the first place. Warming up before any physical activity goes a long way in reducing the risk of knee tendonitis, as it improves circulation and gets the body in a state to withstand high stress / tension activity. As previously mentioned regular stretching and squatting is also a useful preventative method. Also wearing proper footwear that offer some leg supports whilst may not be the most fashionable also helps.