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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sports Injury/Prevention 'Pearls'

What REALLY is patella tendonitis?
The definition, prevention, treatment and management
PART 1 of  2

Patella tendonitis ('itis' means inflammation) is a very common injury that can ruin just about, well, EVERYTHING!:running, stairs, squatting, kneeling on a floor. The patella [fig. 1], is covered with a fibrous connective tissue which is an extension of the patella tendon, above the knee cap. [fig.2]. Attached to it are the powerful quadriceps muscle group. Combined, they provide a very powerful mechanism that helps in 'deceleration' of knee flexion e.g. when the foot fits the ground. The patella is actually vibrating very fast due to the intense contraction of the quadriceps  to keep the patella in place. Awesome.
Fig 1
 Fig 2
THE PROBLEM: However, over a short time, without preventive strategies, the tendon[fig. 3] can suffer minor tears. The tendon does have a blood supply. When the tendon tears, it inflames and at first seems somewhat innocuous until you start reaching for ice packs, knee straps, knee braces, topical agents, limping etc.
Fig 3
WHY: Remember when I mentioned the quadriceps muscle and its powerful contraction that exerts this awesome force, technically 'limp torque', through the patella? Well every time you take a step this exerts an eccentric load on the patella. Think of this moment as 'putting on the brakes'. Well brakes do wear out. In this case, the patella tendon is the brake! Now add hundreds of cycles of running, squatting, jumping{really the landing] the tendon ultimately suffers classic overuse symptoms.

CAUTION: The scope of this topic is confined to the patella tendon and one of many conditions that can exists with overuse. There are multitudes of differential diagnosis that should be ruled out or you risk implementing a treatment protocol that is contract-indicated(shouldn't do!). So unless you have been properly diagnosed, whether its through WEB MD or an actual health care professional! don't perform the strategies I will be outlining in the coming blogs on this topic. The good news though that if you live in the area I would be glad to perform an assessment to determine if you have 'true' patella tendonitis.

COMING UP later in the week!..
 A few simple methods to prevent and manage patella tendonitis that will surprise you!
Don't miss it!

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