Other Knee Conditions

Patellar Tendinitis

What is patellar tendinitis?

Patellar tendititis is inflammation of the patella tendon, which connects the quadriceps muscle at the front of the thigh down to the top of the shin bone. The inflammation is due to small tears in the tendon caused by overuse. These small tears can sometimes develop into larger areas of damage, which prevent healing.

The quadriceps muscle and patella tendon enable you to extend your knee and run, kick and jump. In fact, patellar tendinitis is commonly called jumper’s knee. It’s a common condition in people who play jumping sports such as football, basketball and volley ball. But you don’t need to participate in these sports to get patellar tendinitis. It’s also common in runners, skiers and cyclists, as well as people with really tight thigh muscles.

What are the symptoms of patellar tendinitis?

The main symptom of patellar tendinitis is pain under your kneecap. Initially the pain tends to only occur when you start physical activity. It can worsen so that you feel the pain when just doing daily activities such as using stairs.

What does your doctor look for?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, your general health and your lifestyle (eg what sports you play). Your doctor will also look at your knee and apply pressure to different areas to see where you hurt.

What investigations are needed?

Your doctor may request imaging tests such as X-ray, ultrasound or MRI.

How is patellar tendinitis treated?

The treatment options for patellar tendinitis include:

  • non-drug therapy (eg physiotherapy, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, strapping, massage, dry needling)
  • medications (eg anti-inflammatories, platelet rich plasma injections into the joint)
  • surgery to remove the damaged tissue and allow/promote healing

Our specialists at Orthopaedic Clinics Gold Coast will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your particular situation.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to pain around the front of the knee, without signs of damage or other knee joint problems.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be due to a combination of alignment problems and overuse, which cause increased pressure between the kneecap (patella) and the bottom of the thigh bone (femur). It is most common in young and adolescent females.

What are the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome?

Pain at the front of the knee (or both knees) is the key symptom. The pain may be:

  • hard to pin point
  • transient (it may come and go)
  • worse going up and particularly down stairs
  • triggered by running and squatting
  • worse after sitting still for a long period

You may also have a grating feeling when bending and straightening your knee, as well as some swelling around the kneecap.

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What does your doctor look for?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and the history of the problem as well as examining your knee.

What investigations are needed?

Generally, your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis based on symptoms and physical examination. Tests like X-ray and scans can’t diagnose patellofemoral pain but might be needed if your symptoms are not typical and other conditions need to be ruled out.

How is patellofemoral pain syndrome treated?

The symptoms usually improve if the knee is not overused and the activities that cause pain are avoided. If symptoms persist, treatment options for patellofemoral pain syndrome include:

  • non-drug therapy (eg physiotherapy, taping of patella, shoe inserts)
  • medications (eg anti-inflammatories)
  • surgery is no longer recommended for most cases of patellofemoral pain syndrome

Our specialists at Orthopaedic Clinics Gold Coast will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your particular situation.

Patella Dislocation

What is patella dislocation?

Patella dislocation occurs when the kneecap slips out of its place in the patellar groove. It usually moves to the outside (laterally). It can happen when your foot is planted and you rapidly twist or change direction. When the patella dislocates, the ligaments that hold it in place are often stretching and damaged.

Patella dislocation is common in young active people. There may be pre-existing looseness of ligament, allowing the kneecap to move too much.

The patella tends to move back into place when the leg is straightened. But once the patella has dislocated, there’s a good chance it will happen again because of the ligament stretch.

Note that a patella dislocation is not the same as a knee dislocation.

What are the symptoms of patella dislocation?

The symptoms of a patella dislocation are:

  • a popping sensation when the patella slips out
  • pain, which is worse while the kneecap is dislocated
  • tenderness on the inner side of the knee
  • swelling and sometimes some bruising
  • an unstable kneecap (ie it has a tendency to want to slip out)
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What does your doctor look for?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. Your doctor will examine your knee looking for pain, swelling and any signs of damage to blood vessels and nerves.

If your knee is dislocated when you see your doctor, it will usually be put back in place (reduced) before other investigations are performed.

What investigations are needed?

You doctor may request an X-ray if concerned about the possibility of patella fracture or other associated fracture.

How is patella dislocation treated?

If you have only dislocated your patella once, treatment will usually involve:

  • putting the patella back into place – once the kneecap in back in its groove, the symptoms are rapidly relieved
  • pain medication
  • protecting the knee with a brace
  • investigations (if needed)
  • rehabilitation with or without a brace

If you have recurrent patella dislocations, treatment options include:

  • non-drug therapy (eg physiotherapy to strengthen relevant muscles to reduce patellar instability, use of a splint)
  • surgery

Our specialists at Orthopaedic Clinics Gold Coast will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your particular situation.

Knee bursitis

What is knee bursitis?

A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that provides cushioning and support for joints. Inflammation of a bursa is called bursitis.

The knee joint has four bursae: one above the kneecap, one over the kneecap, one below the kneecap and one to inner side of the knee below the joint. Any of these can become inflamed, but knee bursitis commonly involves the bursa over the kneecap and the one on the inside of the knee below the joint.

Knee bursitis is caused by:

  • trauma (eg a direct blow to your knee)
  • frequent and sustained pressure (eg prolonged kneeling on hard surfaces)
  • overuse (eg running, football, netball)
  • infection
  • complications from other knee conditions (eg arthritis, gout)

What are the symptoms of knee bursitis?

The symptoms vary depending on which bursa is affected and the cause of the bursitis. The main symptoms are pain and swelling.

What does your doctor look for?

Your doctor will ask you about your medical history including your symptoms and your lifestyle. Your doctor will also examine your knees looking for: difference between them; signs of warmth; tenderness; swelling; your range of motion and whether it hurts to bend your knee.

What investigations are needed?

Your doctor might request imaging to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms to bursitis. Imaging tests include X-ray, MRI and ultrasound.

If an infection is suspect, your doctor may take a sample of the fluid in the bursa. This is done by inserting a needle into the bursa and draining (aspirating) some of the fluid. The fluid is then sent away for testing.

How is knee bursitis treated?

The treatment options for knee bursitis include:

  • non-drug therapy (eg physiotherapy or sports therapy, knee braces, knee sleeves)
  • medications (eg anti-inflammatories, antibiotics in case of infection. joint injections, joint aspiration)
  • surgery to remove the bursa

Our specialists at Orthopaedic Clinics Gold Coast will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your particular situation.