Quadriceps Tendonitis (Tendinitis)
Quadriceps tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis) is a painful condition affecting the quadriceps tendon above the kneecap. The quadriceps group of muscles is the largest in the front of the thigh and is very important for stabilizing the leg. The group of muscles are individually called the vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis and the overlying rectus femoris. The quadriceps tendon connects the quadriceps to the shin bone (tibia) via the patellar tendon, which encases the knee cap itself. The process known as the quadriceps mechanism involves the patella (knee cap), the patella tendon, the quadriceps and its tendon. They all work together to extend the leg to straight.
Quadriceps tendonitis is caused by repetitive use of this tendon. This condition is most common in an athlete who is in involved in sports that require lots of jumping such as basketball, volleyball and jogging, or in a sport that requires a lot of stopping and starting. Little tears in the tendon and tendon sheath will present as pain and inflammation if these tears are not allowed to heal with rest.
Inflammation in the quadriceps tendon is often due to irritation and/or micro-tearing of the collagen fibers. When the fibers tear, they become weaker, inflamed and swollen causing pain and tenderness in the area.
There are 2 types of tendonitis, acute and chronic. Acute quadriceps tendonitis refers to inflammation that comes on suddenly, usually from a tendon strain or overloading it during exercise. Chronic quadriceps tendonitis occurs over time and generally results from long term repetitive use of the quadriceps tendon.
With both types of tendinitis, scar tissue develops on the tendon as the tears begin to heal. This scar tissue mends the tears in an abnormal way leaving the collagen fibers weaker and more prone to further injury. In the case of chronic quadriceps tendinitis, a build up of scar tissue over a long period of time will make the tendon and the entire knee joint more prone to re-injury.
Other conditions which can be a cause of anterior (front) knee pain are commonly confused with quadriceps tendonitis. These conditions include patellar tendonitis, synovial plicae, chondromalacia, patello-femoral subluxation and hyper-pressure, fat pad impingement or Hoffa's syndrome and patello-femoral arthritis.
Quadriceps Tendinitis Risk Factors
- Participating in "jumping" sports such as basketball, volleyball and jogging.
- Having diabetes, gout or para-hypothyroidism.
- Age can be a factor because as we grow older our tendons become more brittle and therefore prone to injury.
- Activities that require sharp, sudden changes of direction or lots of stopping and starting.
- Mis-alignment of the foot, ankle, and leg including flat feet, leg length discrepancy, tracking abnormalities, etc.
Quadriceps Tendonitis Symptoms
- Pain when tightening or flexing the quadriceps with a straight leg .
- Pain when the top of the kneecap is pressed.
- Irritation or pain when moving from a crouched position to a standing position.
- Stiffness or tightness the day following any activity or exercise that irritated the area.
Conservative Treatment Options for Quadricep Tendonitis
The best way to treat quadricep tendonitis is to rest the area, especially avoiding the particular activity that produced the condition. If the strain was minor, the body should be able to heal the tendon fibers normally. Unfortunately, this is not the usual result, due to the injured tendon being used instead of rested.
The body heals the injured quadricep tendon fibers by binding them together with fibrotic adhesions, or scar tissue. This is a normal, protective response of the body, done in an attempt to prevent further damage to the injured area. Unfortunately, this leads to inflexibility in the knee and possibly chronic knee problems.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of an achilles injury they should generally be undertaken with caution as they weaken the tendon and may lead to a complete rupture. If you do opt for an injection, doctors usually recommend that you do not participate in strenuous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of a rupture.
Conservative Treatment Step 1: Reduce The Initial Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's natural response to an immediate achilles injury and is a normal part of the healing process - helping to reduce tissue infection in the early stages of injury. Swelling, pain, heat sensation, redness, and loss of function are the main symptoms experienced.
The combination of rest, topical pain relief cream and minor amounts of cold therapy is the gold standard in medicine for minimizing tissue damage and reducing inflammation after injury or activity. It serves as a critical bridge into the next phase of the healing process.
Conservative Treatment Step 2: Enhance Blood Flow to the Injured Soft Tissue
After the inflammation and swelling below your kneecap and around your quadricep tendon is gone, you can begin to treat your entire knee with Soft Tissue Regeneration Therapy via use of the T•Shellz Wrap®. STR Therapy increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your knee to nourish your meniscal cartilage, muscles tendons, and ligaments to speed healing.
By treating yourself with STR Therapy you can increase your body's blood supply to the knee, boosing your body's natural healing power. In addition, fresh blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from the tissue damage of quadricep tendinitis leaving the area clean and able to heal faster. Our Knee TShellz Wrap provides highly effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your knee until your pain and inflammation settle. Taking the time to care for your knee properly will have your knee back to normal faster and allow you to get back to the activities you enjoy.
Conservative Treatment Step 3: Recognize That Healing is a Process
With dedication, the right tools, and the right information - you will achieve your goal of a sustainable recovery. A combination approach of cold therapy, deep heat treatments, and functional movements will make it happen much more quickly. Healing takes a comprehensive approach and will differ from person to person.
If you have questions, we welcome you to call our office toll-free at 1-866-237-9608 (Continental US), or Internationally at +1-705-532-1671.
The best option we came across in our research to accomplish faster healing of soft tissue injuries in the knee is the Knee T•Shellz Wrap®. Use of this device results in a significant increase in blood flow to the injured tissues located deeper within the body - all in a non-invasive manner.
Have you seen what happens when you add water to a flower wilted from drought? In essence, your injured heel is much like a "wilted" flower; your body wants to heal its injury, but needs lots of nutrients to do it. Blood brings new life to your cells by delivering healing nutrients and oxygen that are vital to your tissue. In addition, the blood carries away toxins and cellular waste cleaning the area and healing it faster. Without a good supply of blood, your knee simply won't heal as quickly, opening it up to greater risk of re-injury and/or tendonosis.
Pain and Anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be used if required to help manage your pain. However, these aren't recommended for long term use, as they can cause gastrointestinal difficulties and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The use of cold therapy and STR Therapy in conjunction with NSAIDs can greatly improve the effect of this medication and can help to heal quicker.
The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results! With these simple therapies you will notice incredible results in your knee.
Remember: We recommend that you visit your doctor and/or physiotherapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.