The patellar tendon connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). Patellar tendonitis occurs when stress is placed on the supporting structures of the knee, resulting in a burning pain just below the patella. Although it most commonly affects athletes whose sports involve a lot of running and jumping, patellar tendonitis can happen to anybody at anytime. Physical activities, tight muscles, and muscular imbalance are all factors that contribute to the injury. Stretching the hamstrings before running or jumping can significantly decrease the chances of this to occur.
Typically, the first step in treating patellar tendonitis is getting any swelling to go down, followed by a variety of physical therapy sessions involving stretching and strengthening the muscles in the leg or legs. Stem cell injections can be given in an effort to heal and regenerate any torn tissue in the tendon without surgery. Surgery is rarely needed in this instance, but may be suggested if nothing else has improved the condition. In this case, damaged tissue is removed and the injured tendon is repaired, followed by physical therapy.
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