PATELLAR TENDINOPATHY INJURIES
This type of knee pain is a condition involving the patella tendon, located at the anterior (front) aspect of the knee. When it becomes overused, overloaded or sustains a mechanical trauma to the area (a direct blow), this tendon can become irritated resulting in pain being experienced just below the knee cap. The patella tendon works with its surrounding musculature to produce knee extension (straightening). It also acts as an anchor, or connection point between the kneecap and shin bone. Within the sporting realm, patella tendonitis (or tendinopathy) is also dubbed ‘jumpers knee’.
WHAT CAUSES PATELLA TENDINOPATHY?
With repetitive stress or overuse of the tendon, micro tears form in the tendon which slowly worsens & thus weakens the tendon. Factors that can lead to the onset of patella tendonitis include:
Rapid increases in the frequency or intensity of training.
Strength symmetries between the right and left knee.
Tight musculature around the knee which pulls on the tendon (commonly the quadriceps muscle), or weakness in the muscle (hamstrings, quadriceps and calves). As a result of being tight, the muscle cannot contract optimally and thus transfers more load/requires greater effort from the tendon.
Poor ankle & hip biomechanics, or movement patterns (e.g; valgus knee or flat foot conditions).
Running & playing frequently on hard surfaces.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MENISCUS INJURIES
If one does sustain an injury to the meniscus, whether the mechanism of injury being from a sporting injury or just awkwardly rotating the knee, symptoms include:
- An audible pop at the time of the strain or tear. The pop could be either the sound of the meniscus tearing or pressure releasing inside the knee at the time of the injury.
- Pain on the inside or outside of the knee, especially when twisting or rotating. This could indicate whether the medial or lateral meniscus has been injured.
- Catching or locking of the knee as you extend it
- The sensation of your knee giving way.
- Swelling around the medial or lateral aspect of the knee
- Knee joint stiffness & difficulties extending the knee.
DIAGNOSING MENISCAL INJURIES WITH YOUR SYDNEY PHYSIOS
If you are experiencing knee pain, particularly any of the symptoms outlined above, be sure to see one of your Sydney physiotherapist or book online for one of our services for an accurate diagnosis. Meniscal injuries need to be accurately diagnosed by assessing range of motion, strength, and special tests specific to knee injuries.
Further medical investigations such as an x-ray and MRI can be used to investigate if there may be something else contributing to your pain and/or more specific information on the extent of injury is needed, which would be used to determine rehabilitation or surgical needs.
SYDNEY PHYSIOTHERAPY ADVICE FOR MENISCAL INJURIES
Meniscal injuries can range from strains (repetitive movement which weakens the meniscus), degenerative tears (age related changes) or stable tears (acute injury, for example occurring during sport).
A meniscus strain or partial tear should be rested for the first 1~2 days to allow swelling and inflammation to decrease. Rest, icing, compression & elevation of the knee is recommended for the first 48hours. After this time, rehabilitation and strengthening or the knee & meniscus should begin. You should see a return to your previous level of baseline functional capacity/strength between 6~8 weeks when engaging in rehabilitation. Observing the knee over a 2~3 month period is crucial. If symptoms don’t reside, surgery may be considered.
TREATMENT BY AN INFINITE HEALTH SYDNEY PHYSIOTHERAPIST
If the injury sustained to the meniscus does not require medical intervention (surgery), utilising Physiotherapy services is recommended to improve healing & decrease recovery time. Here at Infinite Health, our highly trained physiotherapists will assist you through the healing process. Once we have decreased your pain, we will then be able to assist you back to pain-free activities, return to normal day to day activities and reduce the risk of recurrence in the future.
In your initial session, your physiotherapist will thoroughly assess the area by testing the movement of the knee joint and the muscles supporting the knee. The therapist will also look at a series of functional movements (such as a squat or lunge) to observe what state your knee is currently functioning in.
From here, the therapist will use a range of pain relief modalities such as soft tissue release, dry needling, passive muscular & joint stretching to minimize your body’s perception of the pain being experienced. Once accomplished, the therapist will prescribe rehabilitative exercises tailored to your knee to build up the strength of the injured area to prevent recurrence & make your knees as resilient as possible!
For expert help and treatment, visit one of our clinics or sign up for one of our online services. We'd love to help.