what is QUAD tendinopathy?
Causes and treatments to resolve pain from Quad Tendinopathy (Quadriceps Tendonitis)
The quadriceps tendon is above the knee and connects the kneecap (patella) to quad muscles. The tendon is responsible above the knee and helps with jumping and cushioning your landing.
A combination of over use and micro-damage of the tendon from excessive stress can contribute to quadriceps tendinopathy. They use to call this tendonitis which is “inflammation”, but we know that it is not usually inflammation but a certain amount of excessive stress to the tendon that causes the injury to the tendon which we call quadriceps tendinopathy.
How do you know if you have quadriceps tendinopathy?
Symptoms usually occur of pain and tenderness immediately above the kneecap. Patients report pain when holding the leg straightened, squatting, or going down stairs. This condition usually happens to people over the age of 40.
A good clinical exam with a diagnostic ultrasound can diagnose the severity of quadriceps tendinopathy. Ultrasound is as effective as MRI for evaluating quadriceps tendinopathy which can be performed in the clinic at a fraction of the cost.
What are treatment options for quadriceps tendinopathy?
Nonsurgical options include activity modification including changing the way you land or squat or reducing activity that aggravates you such as jumping or going down stairs. Physical therapy exercises can be helpful to strengthen the tendon to withstand the loads of jumping.
If physical therapy does not improve your pain or ability to perform activities, the next step is to consider injection. There are cortisone injections and orthobiologic injections. Cortisone is not indicated for quadriceps tendinopathy.
Other injections to consider are orthobiologics. Orthobiologics include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Please speak with your physician to see if you are a candidate with these procedures. They can help with reducing pain and increasing function. PRP has been shown in several studies to be effective in quadriceps tendinopathy.
Other treatment options that can be helpful include Tenex. Learn more about tenex here.
If injections do not provide relief, the next procedure to consider is tendon repair. This is where they stitch the tendon back together.