Running has been steadily growing in popularity, both as a recreational activity and a competitive sport. With only a good pair of shoes and your own determination, you can develop stronger bones, build stronger muscles, burn calories, improve your cardiovascular health, and maintain a healthy body weight. Running for 30 minutes can also boost your mood as it stimulates the release of feel-good hormones.
With the wide range of health benefits running has to offer, it isn’t surprising that the number of running enthusiasts in the U.S. totaled to 64 million in 2016. However, just like any other physical activity, running also comes with its own risks. One of the most common musculoskeletal conditions that affect runners is patellar tendinitis.
The Nature of Patellar Tendinitis
The patellar tendon connects your kneecap and your shinbone together. It plays an important role in knee movement, particularly knee extension. Although it is more commonly known as jumper’s knee, this injury isn’t exclusive to people who play sports that involve jumping.
Patellar tendinitis is characterized by knee pain and inflammation between the kneecap. As the injury worsens, it might not only disrupt your training regimen but your daily activities as well. To prevent patellar tendinitis, you should perform resistance exercises to develop the muscles of your lower extremities, most especially your thigh muscles. This works best with a proper running form, a good pair of shoes, and a healthy amount of rest.
If you suspect a patellar tendinitis injury, don’t run through the pain as it may aggravate your condition. Rest your injured knee and avoid movements that worsen the pain. Apply a cold pack for 15 minutes at a time to numb the pain and minimize the swelling. Wrap the injured knee with an elastic bandage for additional support. It is important to lay off high-impact activity for a while until your injury fully heals and seek medical consultation as soon as you can.
Benefits of Using Patellar Tendon Straps
A patellar tendon strap is an orthotic device generally prescribed for patients who experience pain in front of their knee caused by overuse injuries or patellar tendinitis. It can lessen the amount of pressure caused by movement and consequently reduce the stress to your patellar tendon.
Among the benefits of wearing a patellar tendon strap include the following:
It lessens the pain caused by the inflamed tendon.
It reduces patellar compression.
It prevents excessive sideways shifting of the patella, keeping it in proper alignment.
It minimizes patellar strain and pressure.
It decreases patellar tendon length (PTL) which, in turn, indirectly decreases the strain on the patellar tendon.
It reduces the contact pressure and contact area between the patella and the femur in the patellofemoral joint.
When choosing a patellar tendon strap, make sure that it is made of high-quality material and provides adequate support. An adjustable strap feature is also handy to ensure comfort and flexibility.
Aside from patellar tendon straps, other orthotic devices designed for patellar tendonitis include patellar tendon braces and knee sleeves. These aids allow you to ease your way back to your running career after an injury. Make sure to get clearance from your doctor and ask his or her recommendation before you resume your training schedule.