Patellar Tendonitis and Running - Why it Happens and How to Treat It
If you have ever experienced pain in the knee while running (or shortly after) you may be experiencing patellar tendonitis.
Don't worry, you're not alone. It is a common ailment associated with running and experienced by many around the world. It is caused by the overuse of the knee joint, specifically the patellar tendon (hence the name). You most commonly see this condition in runners (more so than athletes), which is why it can also be referred to as "runners knee".
In this article we are going to run you through WHY you are experiencing patellar tendonitis running pain and the best forms of TREATMENT to resolve this condition.
Why does Patellar Tendonitis Occur?
We'll be the first to admit that the term patellar tendonitis might sound scary, but it's actually a pretty common knee injury.
The tendon attaches your kneecap (patellar) to your shin bone (tibia) and is one of the main stabilizing muscles in your knee. As a result, the tendon takes a lot of stress during day-to-day activities, and even more so when running. As you can imagine, the repetitive action of running can easily cause an issue with overuse.
The problem is that overuse of the tendon causes microscopic tears. These tears cause swelling and irritation to the knee joint, and as a result patellar tendonitis running pain.
How to TREAT Patellar Tendonitis
There are several forms of treatment that you can implement if you are experiencing pain from patellar tendonitis. These are:
Ice - as we have identified, patellar tendonitis is the inflammation of the patellar tendon. So one way to reduce the inflammation is to apply the reusable ice pack or a knee ice pack wrap for immediate relief.
Rest - when you feel pain, it is your body telling you to STOP. We, at the Best Knee Braces, always recommend a cautious approach when it comes to knee injuries. Immediately stop running, find a place to rest your knee and mentally take note of the pain you are experiencing for diagnosis purposes later on.
Knee braces- if you have access to a support aid, such as a knee brace, we recommend using it to assist in your running. Braces help to absorb the pressure running places on the patellar tendon, therefore reducing the likelihood of patellar tendonitis running pain.
How to PREVENT Patellar Tendonitis
Regular readers would know we always encourage a proactive approach with their knee health. This includes taking preventative measures to avoid knee injuries and conditions. Here are our favorite tips for avoiding knee patellar tendonitis running :
Rest - it may go against every fitness instinct in your body, however incorporating rest days into your fitness routine is key for building your bodies health. By taking rest days, you are allowing your body to regenerate and repair the cells or muscle fibers that you have damaged during your workouts. This includes the fibers in your patellar tendon.
Knee sleeves - even if you do not experience pain when you run, we recommend using a knee sleeve. You may be thinking this sounds like it is an over cautious approach. However, using a knee sleeve helps to support your knee and actually reduces the likelihood of any injuries from occurring. Check out our round up of the best knee sleeves for running so you can get ahead on your knee health.
Knee Strengthening Exercises - supplementing your running regime with exercise sessions that target the muscles around the knee joint will go a long way in maintaining a healthy knee. Exercises such as squats and lunges help to build up the surrounding muscle endurance. This has a knock on effect on the patellar tendon, by reducing the pressure and stress exerted during the running action.
Final Thoughts on Patellar Tendonitis Running Pain
So there you have it. The in and outs of Patellar Tendonitis including how it happens, proven treatments and how to proactively prevent it from happening on future runs.
If you are experiencing knee pain, it is not the end of the world. You can still maintain your running schedule. Simply follow out recommendations that we have laid out in this article and you will be back on the track in no time.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions about your knee pain we recommend seeking advice from a medical professional.