Patellar tendinitis, or patellar tendinopathy, is characterised by a pain in the patellar tendon which runs from your patella (or your kneecap) to your tibia. Patellar tendinitis car lead to tear or degeneration of the tendon.
With patellar tendinitis, you will experience pain while descending stairs or running downhill. Pain can disappear after a short warm up, just in any tendon-related injury.
Patellar tendinitis should not be confused with Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) which is not sensitive to the touch.
Patellar tendinitis is caused by repetitive overloading in the knee extensor. Quadriceps tightness increase stress on your tendon and therefore cause patellar tendinitis. Patellar tendon experiences high forces during a run. Its inflammation is usually due to chronic stress due to repetitive movements (just like when you run).
What does science have to say?
Patellar tendinitis has been widely studied by scientists, here are some key facts you should know:
- Patellar tendinopathy is a diagnosis that is present in 5% of injured runners with 57% occurring in male runners (1)
- Forefoot strikers exhibit knee frontal plane moment than rear-foot strikers, which reduces the risk of running-related knee injuries. (2)
- Reduction in vertical load rates may be protective for the knee and reduce the risk for patellar tendinitis (3)
How to avoid it?
Researches have demonstrated that patellar tendinitis can be associated with high loading rates and impact forces. Those parameters induce enormous stress on the knee and especially on the patellar tendon.
Moreover, forefoot striking may reduce the overall load on the knee which will decrease the stress on your patellar tendon. However, forefoot striking will increase the stress experienced by your Achilles tendon and your metatarsal bones (your forefoot).
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