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Patella Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
Patella tendonitis (tendon inflammation) is a common condition which affects the tendon that connects the patella (kneecap) to the shin bone. The condition frequently occurs in athletes whose sports involve a lot of jumping (e.g. volleyball and basketball) hence the name “Jumper’s knee”. Patella tendonitis can, however, also occur in those who don’t participate in any jumping sports.
Tendon damage in patella tendonitis is largely a result of increased tendon strain and overload which occurs for two primary reasons:
- Faulty movement patterns. Faulty or compensated movement can lead to greater strain on the tendons. By addressing dysfunctional movement, strain on the tendon can be reduced and pain improved.
Other factors, such as nutrition, have also been shown to play a role in tendon injuries. Diets that are high in simple sugars and refined oils and low in fruit and vegetables reduce tendon resilience.
The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a strong, dense, connective tissue that runs down the side of the leg. As the knee bends the ITB band is compressed into the side of the femur. If this compression is increased excessively it can lead to ITB syndrome pain. ITB syndrome is very common in runners, especially those with high arches or with leg length asymmetry. Hip strengthening and manual therapy (chiropractic or physiotherapy) has been shown to be very effective in treating ITB syndrome.
Knee arthritis (osteoarthritis) is very common in older populations and results from a progressive breakdown of the protective cartilage in the joint. This leads to knee pain, knee stiffness, loss of motion and, in more severe cases, difficulty walking.
Traditionally, knee arthritis has been considered a “wear and tear” disease process. It was thought to develop solely due to increased strain on the knee joint from some form of knee injury (e.g. a car accident) or daily micro-injury from poor mechanics or over-use.
However, more recent research suggests that this may not be the complete picture. New evidence is showing that knee arthritis is not the same disease process in every case and many other factors are involved. Inflammation, obesity, nutrition, hormone imbalance and autoimmunity have been shown to play a role in certain patients with knee arthritis. Treatment of knee arthritis should include manual techniques (such as chiropractic or physiotherapy) and strengthening, alongside the management of any underlying causes (e.g. increased inflammation, weight gain, poor nutrition etc.).
Many structures in and around the knee are capable of causing pain. The muscles, cartilage, meniscus and ligaments are all common sources of knee pain. However, unless the pain is due to traumatic injury (such as a blow to the knee) most knee pain is caused by dysfunction that is distant from the knee joint itself (e.g. foot or hip problems). These distant dysfunctions can result in the knee having to compensate, often leading to increased strain on the knee and eventually pain. Although managing the injured knee tissue is important, only by addressing the distant dysfunction will complete and long lasting relief be achieved.
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“I had pain in my knee and my trainer recommended I tried this treatment. I didn’t think it would work but after the course of care my pain completely went and I feel much better.