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Knee pain is certainly common and even more so as we get older, most especially for those who do a lot of sport involving jumping and running.

It doesn't take too much imagination to appreciate the wear and tear that the human knee suffers through daily use.

The problem is that most of us tend to take our knees for granted until something goes wrong.

Sprains and Strains

In the majority of cases of knee pain, there's unlikely to be anything too serious going on.

By far the most common injuries that we see are simple strains and sprains from overuse. However, failure to seek treatment can in many cases lead to more severe problems.

I must admit here that I'm giving advice that I've ignored myself. I'm a big chap and spend around 10 hours a day on my feet treating patients.

I should have started to take better care of my knees a few years ago when knee pain started to become a regular feature in my life. Nowadays I spend a lot of time receiving trigger point therapy for pain relief!

 

Treating Patellar Trigger Points

 

Trigger Points

Trigger points are associated with almost all types of knee pain and common knee injuries.

In some cases the trigger points may be the underlying cause (which is often true with anterior knee pain experienced by runners), and in many cases treating the trigger points will accelerate recovery and alleviate or reduce the pain.

In this trigger point video blog we deal specifically with the patellar ligament. 

Please note that there are a number of other muscles and ligaments that may be connected with knee pain and knee injuries, so don't treat the information in this trigger point blog (Ligamentum Patellae) as stand alone.

So-called "Runner's Knee" and "Jumper's Knee" for example, are often also associated with trigger points in the Gluteus, Quadriceps, and Sartorius muscles


Patellar Ligaments:
The human knee, a marvel of biomechanical engineering, is a complex joint crucial for everyday mobility. However, within this intricate network of bones, cartilage, and ligaments lies a vulnerability prone to injury. Among the various components, the patellar ligaments play a pivotal role, serving as a critical link between the patella (kneecap) and the tibia. Understanding their anatomy, function, and the correlation with common knee injuries is essential for both athletes and the general population alike.

Anatomy of Patellar Ligaments:
Situated at the front of the knee, the patellar ligaments consist of fibrous tissue connecting the patella to the tibia, forming a crucial part of the extensor mechanism. The patellar ligament originates from the inferior aspect of the patella and extends inferiorly, merging with the tibial tuberosity. This robust structure facilitates the transmission of forces generated by the quadriceps muscles, enabling movements such as walking, running, and jumping.

Function and Mechanism of Injury:
The primary function of the patellar ligaments is to stabilize the patella during knee movements, ensuring optimal biomechanics and force distribution. However, this intricate balance can be disrupted, leading to various types of knee injuries, notably:

1. Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee):
- Overuse or repetitive stress on the patellar ligament can result in inflammation, known as patellar tendonitis.
- Common among athletes involved in jumping sports, such as basketball and volleyball, this condition manifests as pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon.
- Factors such as poor biomechanics, inadequate warm-up, and sudden increases in training intensity contribute to its development.

2. Patellar Dislocation:
- A sudden, forceful movement or trauma to the knee can cause the patella to dislocate from its normal position.
- This displacement can stretch or tear the patellar ligaments, leading to instability and recurrent dislocations.
- Individuals with underlying anatomical abnormalities, such as shallow grooves in the femur or lax ligaments, are more susceptible to this injury.

3. Patellar Tendon Rupture:
- In severe cases of trauma or degeneration, the patellar ligament may rupture partially or completely.
- This debilitating injury often requires surgical intervention to restore function and stability to the knee joint.
- Factors such as age, previous knee injuries, and systemic conditions like diabetes can predispose individuals to patellar tendon ruptures.

Prevention and Rehabilitation:
Preventing knee injuries involving the patellar ligaments requires a multifaceted approach, including:

- Incorporating strength and flexibility exercises targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles to enhance joint stability and reduce stress on the patellar ligaments.
- Gradually increasing training intensity and duration to allow for adequate adaptation and recovery.
- Utilizing proper footwear and protective gear to mitigate impact forces during sports activities.
- Seeking prompt medical attention for any knee pain or instability to prevent exacerbation of underlying issues.

Rehabilitation following patellar ligament injuries typically involves a comprehensive program encompassing:
- Pain management strategies such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).
- Physical therapy to improve range of motion, strength, and proprioception.
- Gradual return to activity under the guidance of a healthcare professional to minimize the risk of reinjury.

Conclusion:
In essence, the patellar ligaments serve as vital connectors in the intricate machinery of the knee joint. While their role in facilitating movement and stability is indispensable, they are also susceptible to various injuries, ranging from tendonitis to complete ruptures. Understanding the anatomy, function, and mechanisms of injury associated with the patellar ligaments is paramount for effective prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation strategies. By prioritizing proper biomechanics, conditioning, and injury management, individuals can safeguard their knee health and maintain an active lifestyle for years to come.

     

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