How To Protect Your Knees From Tendonitis

By: Mike Johnson

Tendons are fibrous chords that connect the muscles to the bone. When these chords are inflamed, a condition known as Tendonitis is probably taking place, and it is usually characterized by tenderness and pain around the affected body part.

Tendonitis usually affects the joint areas, and is most commonly known to attack the knees, the elbows, and the shoulders, although the wrists, the hips, and the heels can also sometimes be prone to developing Tendonitis. Regardless of what particular body joint it attacks, Tendonitis has been given various names to pinpoint the particular area where the pain is being felt. For instance, the Tendonitis that is restricted to the shoulder area is commonly known as rotator cuff Tendonitis, while the pain experienced in and around the kneecap is referred to as the patellar Tendonitis.

Often associated with other inflammatory ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, Tendonitis usually occurs in old age, mainly because the sheet of the body tissue that covers the tendons has been naturally overused. However, in recent years, the condition has begun to affect younger people, especially those who are regularly exposed to extreme physical activities like sports where the arms and the legs are constantly put under pressure. For example, soccer, basketball, and football players are known to be particularly susceptible to developing the patellar Tendonitis because the games that they play obviously expose their legs to constant stress.

Still, one need not be involved in sports to become a candidate for developing Tendonitis. Other factors like old age and abnormal physiological structure are also known to significantly contribute to the occurrence of Tendonitis.

Once Tendonitis sets in, it does not necessarily mean that medical treatment is imperative. If the pain that usually comes with the condition is still tolerable and occurs only once in a while, a simple rest is usually all that is needed. It is only when the pain begins to interfere with one's regular daily activities or when there is soreness that refuses to die down that a medical advice should be sought.

Of course, prevention is still the best solution for Tendonitis, and this can come only when one learns how to properly protect the joints, which are usually the first line of defense against the possibility of any injury. For the knees, for example, wearing knee-pads when doing certain activities like gardening or waxing the floor should be a good starting practice.

Sitting down for extended periods is not healthy for the legs. Ideally, one should stand up every now and then, walking around for at least 20 minutes. If there are tons of work that needs to be done and standing up is not possible, turning and twisting the body once in a while will suffice, with special focus on bending the legs.

Getting involved in thigh-strengthening fitness programs is also an excellent option. This should particularly include straight-leg lifting, which helps the thighs develop stronger muscles. Stronger thigh muscles, commonly called quadriceps, are known to provide adequate support to the knees. Of course, it is equally important that before one engages in these exercises, adequate warm-up activities should first be undertaken.

Caution, however, should also be practiced when doing exercises, especially those that put undue stress on the tendons. For instance, distance running and uphill climbing may be good forms of exercises, but if they cause pain on the knees, it is always best to stop and try other forms of fitness activities where the knees will not necessarily be pressured to work beyond their limits.

In cases when knee pain or knee swelling is already being felt, rest should always be the first option. Refrain temporarily from doing the activity that caused the pain so as to give the swollen area enough time for healing. Additionally, if the pain refuses to go away, applying ice on the aching portion at least three times daily for about 20 minutes may be resorted to, with the option to do some ice massage where plastic foam cups can be filled with water and rubbed directly on the swollen area.

Caution should again be observed when trying to rest a swollen knee. Prolonged inactivity of the knee can possibly lead to joint stiffening, so it is generally recommended that even while it is at rest, the injured leg should be raised just a little above the heart level. This action has been known to help reduce swelling in many instances and is particularly effective when done during the night.

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For more information on tendonitis and knee tendonitis head over to the Tendonitis Help Center or read the Knee Tendonitis fact sheet.

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