Patellar Tendonitis

patellaA couple of weeks ago I wrote about a recurring issue with my knee, specifically a sharp pain in behind the top of my knee cap. The pain only started in the weeks after the NYC half-marathon and initially I was self-medicating. As time went by and the problem remained, I started to get worried. Last week I had a doctor’s appointment regarding another issue, so I decided to bring up the topic of my knee pain. His initial diagnosis, based on the flexibility of my joint and location of the pain was bursitis, but he recommended I go for an x-ray to be certain. When the results of the x-ray came back and confirmed there was no structural damage he referred me to a physical therapist.

I found a therapist near my home and started to attend regular sessions. During my first visit the staff put me through some rigorous tests and determined that I was suffering from patellar tendonitis. Tendonitis is not a particularly debilitating injury, although it does get quite painful when trying to climb stairs or simply sitting down for extended periods. However, as I had continued to run on the injury over the previous week’s my body was not getting a chance to heal. And, according to the physical therapist, would not recover unless I stopped running for 4-6 weeks.

The news could not have come at a worse time, particularly with the eagerly awaited Brooklyn half-marathon quickly approaching. I was only two weeks away, but here was a medical professional telling me I had to stop running. Stubbornly and against all advice, I refused to stop until after the half-marathon – although I did concede and agree to skip the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K scheduled for May 12.

Despite my stubbornness, the staff at the physical therapy office agreed to work with me to get me through the half-marathon, using a combination of stretching, strength exercises, and K tape. Essentially, the two activities that I had stopped paying attention to following the NYC half-marathon (minus the taping of course). Because I had neglected to stretch and build muscle, my quad was pulling my patella in an uneven manner (one side was stronger than the other) and therefore causing irregular wear and poor traction to put additional strain on the tendons. For the next few weeks I have to take it really easy with the running, trying to maintain my current condition while stretching and working out with weights. The goal is to get me through the half-marathon without further aggravating the injury and then taking time off to allow it to heal properly.