Patellar tendonitis treatment
Doctors usually recommend conservative measures to manage patellar tendinitis before considering surgery. These less invasive treatments for patellar tendonitis may include medications and physical therapy.
Patellar tendonitis medications
Pain relievers such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen can help control the pain of patellar tendinitis and reduce inflammation.
Patellar tendonitis therapy
Various physical therapy interventions can also help to relieve pain and restore function in cases of patellar tendinitis. Some of these may include:
- Stretching exercises. Stretching exercises done regularly can help significantly reduce the muscle tension and spasms of patellar tendonitis. Stretches should be done gently and steadily, without any jerking or bouncing.
- Strengthening exercises. Weak muscles in the thighs can add stress to the patellar tendon. Exercises that are frequently helpful for patellar tendinitis are those in which the leg is extended and then slowly lowered.
- Patellar tendon strap. A strap applying pressure to the patellar tendon may help absorb and redistribute stress on the tendon, relieving the pain of patellar tendinitis.
- Iontophoresis. It is a form of therapy that involves the application of a topical corticosteroid to your knee, followed by delivering a low pulse of electrical energy to increase the medication’s absorption.
Patellar tendonitis surgery and other procedures
Suppose therapy and oral medications are not effective in controlling the symptoms of this condition. In that case, your physician may suggest other treatments for patellar tendonitis. These sometimes include:
- Corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroids are sometimes injected, guided by ultrasound imaging, directly into the area around the affected tendon to reduce inflammation and decrease pain. These are powerful drugs with adverse side effects, one of which is the weakening of tendons. This side effect may make the tendon more prone to rupture.
- Platelet-rich plasma injection. This therapy is still being studied. It is hoped to help encourage the formation of new tissue and help heal patellar tendinitis.
- Surgery. The doctor may suggest surgery as a treatment for severe cases of patellar tendonitis if other approaches are unsuccessful. Surgery to repair the patellar tendon can sometimes be done arthroscopically, using tiny incisions and a fiber-optic camera.
For occasional knee pain, you can try the following suggestions:
- Pain medications. Naproxen sodium and ibuprofen are readily available over-the-counter, are affordable, and work to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. They may cause stomach upset, irritation, and other serious side effects. Be sure to check with your doctor before using any medications, especially if you have other health conditions.
- Avoid activity that causes pain. Never exercise through the pain because you can cause further injury. If an activity hurts, stop.
- Ice. Ice or cold packs can help to ease pain and reduce swelling. Never apply an ice pack directly to the skin. Wrap in it a thin towel or a t-shirt. You can also try an ice massage with a small block of ice that is frozen in a small paper cup. Remember to keep the ice moving over your skin.