OS and SLJ are common in young athletes. OS presents as pain at the tibial tuberosity and SLJ pain at the inferior pole of the patella. Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee) is pain at the inferior pole of the patella and occurs typically during sport or when an athlete exaggerates his/her training programme.
Your recovery will depend on your adherence to treatment, rehabilitation and adjustment of sporting activities.
Treatment consists of a course of anti-inflammatory drugs, ice and physiotherapy.
The physiotherapist will focus on stretching of the quadriceps, hamstrings and Achilles tendon. Quadriceps strengthening is done within pain limits and without increasing the stresses across the infrapatellar tendon inplantation. Do not do any exercise on your own without consulting the physiotherapist first.
- Acute symptoms â€’ patellar tendonitis: Ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the symptoms resolve
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Dedicated physiotherapy programme that consists of quadriceps stretching, core stabilisation and muscle balancing.
When can you return to sport?
You can only return to sport once your symptoms have improved. Returning to your sport too soon may increase recovery time. There is no specific time span as everybody responds differently to treatment. You can consider changing your sport to something else such as cycling that has no resistance or swimming.
Ask yourself the following:
- Can you straighten and bend your knee fully?
- Are you able to run without limping?
- Are you able to do your daily exercise without pain?
- Are you able to squat without pain?
- Are you able to jump without pain on either one or both legs?
If you answer yes to all the questions you are most likely ready to return to your sport. Please follow the stretching and strengthening programme for the rest of your life. If you have any pain you are not ready to return to sport.
Suggested home physiotherapy programme:
- Pain free mobility and sport
- Changing your daily exercise regime to improve your muscle balance
- The physiotherapist will give you exercises according to an evaluation of your pain.
- Patella movement: While sitting hold your knee cap with your thumb and index finger. Move your knee cap (patella) down (distal) to the feet, hold it for 10 seconds and then move it up (proximal) to the waist and hold it for 10 seconds. Do this for 5 minutes.
- Hamstring stretch: Stand with you affected knee/ankle on a bench. Keep your knee straight. Lean forward, bending with your hips until you feel a stretch in you upper leg. Hold it for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat. Don’t bend at your back or shoulders as this will only stretch your back.
- Quadriceps stretch: Stand next to a table or wall and support the unaffected side with your hand. Bend your affected knee up so your ankle comes as close as possible to your buttocks. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat. Keep your back straight while doing this exercise.