Patellar tendonitis

I have been wrestling with (self diagnosed) patellar tendonitis for the last six months. I originally went to a physio who suggested cross training and stretching.

This largely hasn't worked and I'm now getting frustrated and without a cure I can't run quickly.

I have been reading on the Web about tendon straps and wondered if anyone has experience of trying one and whether it worked. Alternatively, anyone recovered from this injury who has any tips?


  • No experience of tendon straps , but I have this at the moment - too stubborn to not run, but climbing stairs can be painful at times! Anyone else out there that can help?
  • Mr Stumpy I had exactly the same problem with pain climbing stairs. My physio won't let me run and I am sticking with his advice as things have been getting better the last couple of weeks.

    I am having one session of physio a week where the main treatments are ultrasound and the thingummy where you have electric currents passed through electrodes at the injury site. He has also given me a infrapatellar band to wear which basically applies pressure to the tendon area. I don't wear this to exercise which mainly consists of swimming and light cycling.

    I would be interested to hear from people who have made a complete recovery. This would definately boost my morale as not running is a drag.
  • MartinH

    By tendon strap do you mean strapping to correct the movement of the patella into the right 'grove'? If so, the only advice I can give is that this can be different for each individual and corrections can be in opposite directions. Which I guess if you get it wrong would worsten the problem.
  • My understanding is that the strap works in a couple of ways,

    Firstly, it spreads pressure across the patellar tendon and relieves individual stress points.

    Secondly, it lifts the patellar slightly again relieving pressure - as a subset of this it can help tracking.

    Finally it reduces vibrations across the tendon (caused by running).

    That the theory anyway! Personally I have no confidence that it will work but am getting desperate.

  • I wear my patella strap EVERY time I run. It helped with patella tendinitis almost immediately but did not comepletely cure the problem (that was with stretching!).

    They are comfortable to wear and only cost a tenner (phone PhysioMed on 01457 860444), so you have nothing really to lose by trying it, and no I don't work for the company.

    I was told the whole point of the strap is to help with the tracking.

  • Thanks Rob - I have ordered one and will give it a try. The most annoying thing is the injury is variable, one day it can be quite painful and the next almost non-existent. I also find that during running the pain is almost gone e.g. I ran two marathons in October with no pain at all!

    Let see how I get on.
  • Rob - what particular stretching helped the most - I do all the usual after a run, maybe not for as long as i should, but I now pay particular attention to stretching my thighs and it helps partially. Will probably try a Patella Strap if things don't improve this week.
  • Mainly the hamstrings & calf - my physio used to spend the whole time stretching these, by me laying on my back with one leg flat and the pained leg raised and her pressing down the raised foot towards my chest.

    However, I think stretching all muscles rather than just one area is what's needed (unfortunately).

    Good luck,

    PS - I also got orthotics to solve the tracking problem as I'm very flat-footed and while these are not cheap I truly believe that most of my problems from tight muscles is caused by the pronation problem I have. I'm not a doctor - it's just my humble opinion.
  • Thanks for the tips - looks like I'll be doing a lot of stretching....
  • As with a lot of tendinitis problems, the best cure is rest for a few weeks but this doesn't always sit well with your activities and plans. I've exoperienced plantar and achilles versions which rest cured but not patella.
  • I've had a recurrent knee bursa on the lateral side of the knee - which I thought was patella tendonitis. Rest did nothing - physio treatment cured it overnight but it keeps coming back every 3 weeks.

    Stretching like mad at the moment - quad stretches - where you raise your foot behind you but hold it with the opposite hand - so you're pulling it across.

    Thing that really makes the difference for me tho - and which I do the day after every long run - is going to the gym and having a strap behind the knee - suspended from a point attached to a pulley just a bit higher than the knee - with upto 20lbs weight on it - then just straightening the knee and slightly bending it again. You could do this with a rubber band thingy - max reistance - suspended from a door knob (door closed!!)

    This exercises the inside quad muscle - which if weak allows the knee cap to be pulled to the outside - hence the rubbing on the o'side of the knee and the soreness.

    Running for me works the lateral quads only so I have to artificially work the inner ones to stop them being overpowered and literally pulled out of place.
  • Hi SS, if you're only working the lateral quads when you run are you in the right shoes?
  • I have similar problems,I am doing one leg raise and curl to strengthen the quads. Very surprised at the weakness in the quads doing one leg raise after being an avid squatter. Intersted in Shattered Shins exercise but don't follow the instructions. Can you be a bit more explicit. I have a rubber band thingy!!
  • My patella tendonitis started niggling in March 2000 and became aggrevated a few months later after a long sponsored walk. When I started extended training for a trail race in Dec 2000 it eventually became so bad I could only hobble around - missed the race.
    I then had physio for 3 mths (electro. and massage) and it seemed to cure it. I promptly started training again and it went completely again.
    In short, I lost a whole year's training and my exercise regime went from 40 miles/wk. to 6 mls /wk. max.
    The only cure is total rest for several months, then gradually build up your training again (preferably on soft ground). I feel only now am I almost back to normal after 2 years. I still wear a knee strap for re-assurance but don't really think it does anything.
  • Further to my earlier contribution to this thread I am still having the physio once a week and do not expect to start training again until early February and that might be optomistic. Today I have seen the doc and he gave a steroid injection to the tendon which is now of course sorer than before and will probably be worse again tommorrow.

    The Cortisone injection followed by another couple of weeks rest has done it.
  • I don’t know if this is the same as what you are all talking about but my physio tells me that I have slightly torn my patella tendon, I have had physio now for two weeks and no running and it is much better, he says I can start running again in a few weeks does this sound right or do I need a second opinion.
  • I've just started wearing the strap again (originally I didn't use it as it seemed to make the problem worse). Now though wearing the strap means I can run almost pain free.

    I have also been doing lots of cross training and this combined with regular stretching seems to be gradually relieving the problem.

    Glad to see you're running again Keith - be careful though.
  • Yeah, at the tendor age of twenty I have been diagnosed with patella tendonitis. I got the scan results back yesterday. The specialist said that it was only minor though but that doesn't lessen the disappointment. He also said however, that a little bit of running is good but not too much. I have been to the physio over the last few weeks (as deep down I didn't really need the scan results- I already knew it was gonna be tendonitis) and the exercises have helped with getting up and down the stairs and even with faster running. I think that it is important to understand that the tendons are a part of the body that do not heal quickly at all and therefor it is important to stay focussed and just keep believing that it will get a little better if not completely better. I might try this strap idea but I am not that enthusiastic about it. I hope that everyone else is feeling that their injury is getting better and that you all continue to enjoy your running even though it might be a little painful.
  • Ran a marathon recently and knee went at 9 miles (knew it was patellar tendonitis as had had it diagnosed in previous 3 weeks) hopped 11 miles then knee pain stopped at 20-26 miles. Don't really understand this, am desperate to run again, am doing everything but running to keep fit. Want to do another marathon in April, any advice would be really appreciated.
  • Well, i'm joining the PT Club.  After 5 months of mild pain at the front of my knee, my physio is quite certain i have PT and im sheduled in for some ultrasound and stretching over the next few weeks; however, the advice seems a bit varied here, with some people saying rest for a long period, others doing light training - my physio said i should just keep exercising as normal including everything up to 10 mile runs.  does this sound like bad advice?
  • 2Old2Old ✭✭✭
    I am in the the PT club too having had it pretty bad since VLM in April and its in both knees but I am over twice your age Gav. Whenever I mention it to GP friends  they say find a new hobby! and they arent joking. Tried rest, physio , had a kneedle procedure and whilst its improved its still there and Ive not run since early October.I am wearing knee straps which provide a bit of relief -they seem to spread the pressure off the main area in the tendons where the inflamation is ,but they arent fixing them.Basically it seems that the inflamation wont go because the blood supply there is so poor and its even worse for degenerating old ones like me. My physio wants to start me off running in about four weeks but the days of 40-50 miles a week are probably over.If anyone comes across the magic cure please let me know.
  • Another PT club member. Been suffering for 2years and am now showing very very slow improvement due to lots and lots of stretching. Been told by phyio to concentrate on stretching quads (building strength later) but greatest revelation was stretches for glute med. Basically i overpronate and am built with lopsided! Best advice I can give is stretch, stretch, stretch every muscle you have. Pair this with a core programme (like pilates) It's going to take me a good while yet but I'm getting there.

    As for knee straps I have one and I'm not convinced. 

  • 2Old2Old ✭✭✭
    HI Ra Ra a familiar tale -are you still running and if so to what extent?
  • Varies. 2009 managed to do Warrington Half withminimal training (and I mean minimal!!) but 2010 was a write off...less than 100 miles in total. Now feeling more stable and so far this year have done 2miles and 2x 3miles virtually a week apart. Hoping to try a couple of short runs next week.

    Have failed at first hurdle so many times...slowly,slowly,slowly this time. Even leaving my watch at home and running with my very fat, lazy, slow labrador as a pacer!

  • 2Old2Old ✭✭✭
    Ra Ra-that doesnt sound good .Maybe Im too impatient and need to rest for a lot longer.Hope the short runs went ok.I tried a slow 5k today and whilst being aware of tingling it went ok but this is a long way off where I would like to be
  • Try doing one legged squats on a slanted board, worked for me. You face out- so that you are facing downward. It is better than squats on flat which is what is usually prescribed for PT.
  • With 13 miles accumulated this year I now have slight discomfort in OTHER knee! Resting again. Grrrrrrr.

    Think I may have overdone it with lunges/squats/pilatesy type stuff. I'm honestly taking it so so easy though. 

    Keep looking at those boards. Where did you get yours?

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