Tendon Tears of Knee
Tendon Tears of Knee is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. It is also called as Patellar tendinitis. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so that you can kick, run and jump.
Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball. However, even people who don’t participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendinitis.
For most people, treatment of patellar tendinitis begins with physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee.
Pain is the first symptom of Tendon Tears of Knee or patellar tendinitis, usually between your kneecap and where the tendon attaches to your shinbone (tibia).
Initially, you may only feel pain in your knee as you begin physical activity or just after an intense workout. Over time, the pain worsens and starts to interfere with playing your sport. Eventually, the pain interferes with daily movements such as climbing stairs or rising from a chair.
Tendon Tears of Knee is a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair.
But as the tears in the tendon multiply, they cause pain from inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When this tendon damage persists for more than a few weeks, it’s called tendinopathy.
During the exam, Orthopedic Specialist at Shreya Hospital may apply pressure to parts of your knee to determine where you hurt. Usually, pain from patellar tendinitis is on the front part of your knee, just below your kneecap.
Your doctor may suggest one or more of the following imaging tests:
- X-rays. X-rays help to exclude other bone problems that can cause knee pain.
- Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to create an image of your knee, revealing tears in your patellar tendon.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images that can reveal subtle changes in the patellar tendon.
Doctors typically begin with less invasive treatments before considering other options, such as surgery.
Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) may provide short-term relief from pain associated with patellar tendinitis.
Therapy for Tendon Tears of Knee
A variety of physical therapy techniques can help reduce the symptoms associated with patellar tendinitis, including:
- Stretching exercises. Regular, steady stretching exercises can reduce muscle spasm and help lengthen the muscle-tendon unit. Don’t bounce during your stretch.
- Strengthening exercises. Weak thigh muscles contribute to the strain on your patellar tendon. Exercises that involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending it can be particularly helpful, as can exercises that strengthen all of the leg muscles in combination, such as a leg press.
- Patellar tendon strap. A strap that applies pressure to your patellar tendon can help to distribute force away from the tendon and direct it through the strap instead. This may help relieve pain.
- Iontophoresis. This therapy involves spreading a corticosteroid medicine on your skin and then using a device that delivers a low electrical charge to push the medication through your skin.
Surgical and other procedures for Tendon Tears of Knee
If conservative treatments don’t help, your doctor may suggest other therapies, such as:
- Corticosteroid injection. An ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injection into the sheath around the patellar tendon may help relieve pain. But these types of drugs can also weaken tendons and make them more likely to rupture.
- Platelet-rich plasma injection. This type of injection has been tried in some people with chronic patellar tendon problems. Studies are ongoing. It is hoped the injections might promote new tissue formation and help heal tendon damage.
- Oscillating needle procedure. This outpatient procedure is performed using local anesthesia. Your doctor uses ultrasound imaging to guide a small oscillating needle that cuts away the damaged area while sparing healthy tendon. This is a relatively new procedure, but results have shown promise.
- Surgery. In rare cases, if other treatments fail, your doctor might suggest surgical debridement of the patellar tendon. Some procedures can be done through small incisions around your knee.