Patella Tendinopathy – Physiotherapy
By Dr Daniel Meyerkort, Knee Surgeon, Perth Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Centre
Overview of Patella Tendinopathy
Patella tendinopathy is pain in the patella tendon, just beneath the knee cap. It is also known as jumpers knee. It is more commonly seen in jumping athletes such as basketballers. Patients present with pain in the patella tendon and weakness of the quadriceps muscle. It is the result of inflammation and degeneration within the patella tendon combined with overuse of the tendon.
Physiotherapy for Patella Tendinopathy should be the main form of treatment!
An eccentric muscle strengthening program (contracting the quads muscle while elongating the tendon) should form the basis of treatment for patella tendinopathy and activity modification (i.e. avoiding jumping sports for a period). Eccentric exercise has been shown to increase the volume of healthy patella tendon tissue, allowing pain relief and restoration of function.
Treatment of persistent pain after a Physiotherapy program
A small percentage of patients has persistent pain despite activity modification and an eccentric exercise program. They benefit from seeing a Sports Physician for consideration of additional therapy, such as platelet rich plasma (PRP), cortisone injections or shockwave therapy.