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Patellar tendonitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to you shinbone. Patellar tendonitis is also referred to as jumpers knee as it is common in athletes that play sports such as basketball or volleyball or in runners.
The patellar tendon is a part of the extensor mechanism of the knee, and together with the quadriceps muscle, allow your knee to straighten and provide strength for kicking movements. The patellar tendon is like other tendons and made of strong bands of tissue which receive its nutrition from surrounding vascular tissue. After repetitive strain and injury, the tendon becomes infiltrated with stringy scar tissue or adhesions which cause pain and further limit the extensibility of the tendon. The quadriceps muscle is almost always injured with the patellar tendon and also becomes infiltrated with scar tissue which shortens the entire length of the muscle creating additional tension on the patellar tendon at the knee. This then creates a vicious cycle of re-injury in the kinematic chain (biomechanics of the knee).
Traditionally patellar tendonitis is initially treated by rest, ice, physical therapy modalities and medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These are short term treatments for the acute or initial phase of injury, but are limited in their effective long term permanent correction to the problem.
To achieve a long term effective treatment for patellar tendonitis, treatment should be directed to the injured, scar tissue within the patellar tendon and associated muscles in the kinetic chain of the leg, primarily the quadriceps muscles. Active Release Techniques is a highly effective in identifying the areas of injury and removing the restrictive, tightening effects of the scar tissue. Pain and stiffness is eliminated, muscle elasticity and strength is restored, and normal motion and biomechanics of the knee is achieved.
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