Quadriceps Tendinopathy – Physiotherapy
By Dr Daniel Meyerkort, Knee Surgeon, Perth Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Centre
Overview of Quadriceps Tendinopathy
Quadriceps tendinopathy results in pain just above the knee cap as a result of inflammation and degeneration of the quadriceps tendon as it inserts onto the knee cap. It is the result of an overuse injury in the ageing tendon (unfortunately tendons gradually lose strength from age 25!). It can result in pain and weakness around the knee. It can be diagnosed clinically and confirmed with ultrasound or MRI scanning.
Physiotherapy should be the main treatment for Quadriceps Tendinopathy!
How does Physiotherapy work to heal an ageing and inflamed tendon? Within the tendon there are healthy, normal tendon fibres and unhealthy, degenerative tendon areas which cause pain and weakness. An eccentric muscle strengthening program (essentially this means to contract your muscle while lengthening the tendon) has been shown to increase the amount of normal, healthy tendon fibres and result in symptom improvement. With any type of tendon degeneration (tendinopathy) there will always some abnormal tendon fibres. The correct exercise program will cause the healthy areas to enlarge, resulting in better strength and less pain.
What if symptoms remain after Physiotherapy?
For cases that incompletely resolve with Physiotherapy, a Sports Physician can be useful for additional treatments such as platelet rich plasma (PRP), cortisone and pain medications.