Quadriceps tendonitis results from an injury to the quadriceps tendon due to excess of strain on the knees and legs. For more knowledge on quadriceps tendonitis, read this article.
The role of the tendons in our body is to connect the muscles with the joints. Quadriceps tendon is one such tendon that joins the thigh muscles (or quadriceps muscles) and the knee joints. When there is an excess of strain on the knees or legs, it causes minor tears in the tendons and results in quadriceps tendonitis. People of any age group can get affected by this problem.
Athletes who are into sports like running, soccer, volleyball, weightlifting, etc., are at a higher risk of straining the quadriceps tendons. These activities result in overuse of the knee and thus the knee gets this kind of injury. It can also happen due to use of wrong footwear for running and jogging or due to jumping on a hard surface. Improper training schedule in which there are too many activities or too long sessions of training can also result in this type of tendonitis.
Abnormalities in the alignment of foot, leg or ankle since birth can cause strain to the quadriceps tendons over a period of time. Obesity is another cause of quadriceps tendonitis where excess of load on the legs tend to cause muscle imbalance. Lack of flexibility in joints and muscles, and weakness due to aging are the other factors that makes these tendons prone to injuries.
The inflammation and irritation of the quadriceps tendons gives a sharp pain at the bottom of the thigh near the patella. This pain is different from that of a muscle strain as it can be felt as soon as one gets the injury. While the pain because of a muscle strain is usually felt much later. This pain that is associated with tendonitis increases with the movements of the knee as it causes a lot of friction.
The more the knee is moved, the more the pain intensifies. With the increase in pain, the area gets swelled up and becomes tender to touch. Due to the burning pain of quadriceps tendonitis, one can get a feel of warmth on touching the area. When the pain and inflammation, worsens further, the affected knee joints tend to become stiff.
The most important part of treatment for quadriceps tendonitis is complete rest. This will give the affected tendon some time to repair the damage. For complete recovery from the injury, at least 4-6 weeks of rest is a must. When the pain becomes bothersome, then application of ice on the area can help soothe the pain. Make sure that the ice is not applied directly on the skin. It should be wrapped in a packet and then in a towel before it is placed on the injured joint.
It should be applied for 15 minutes at a stretch and not more than that. It can be repeated several times in a day after a gap of one hour or so. In order to control the pain and inflammation anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed by doctors. For a severe pain, cortisone injections are administered. If the symptoms refuse to go down with these treatments, then the damage is likely to be severe. In case a rupture is detected in the tendons in the ultrasound tests or MRI scan, then surgery is done to correct it.
An integral part of this healing process is exercising. This should be done after the symptoms have gone down and before resuming the normal life activities. It will help in strengthening the quadriceps muscles and make the joint more flexible. Ideally, it should be started after 6 weeks of injury if it is treated non surgically, while for surgical treatments it may start after a few months. These exercises should be done under the supervision of a physical therapist. Knee lifts and light jumping ropes are highly beneficial in this regard.
One should patiently wait till the tendonitis is healed completely and only then return to normal activity. Otherwise, there is a high chance that the tendons will get injured all over again. After recovery, one should try to prevent recurrence of straining the tendons. Good warm up and stretching exercises is a must before starting any sports activities or exercises. One should be aware of one’s body limit and work accordingly, and thus prevent overstraining.