Patellar tendonitis -- also spelled tendinitis -- is the inflammation of the tendon that connects the patella, or kneecap, to the top of the tibia, or shinbone. Also called “jumper’s knee,” this condition commonly affect athletes who play basketball, volleyball and soccer, and people who do a lot of cycling, running and walking. There are several exercises that are recommended for someone with patellar tendinitis, and several exercise to avoid.
Stand with your head, shoulders and back against a wall. Place your feet about 1-foot away from the wall and place a round pillow or soccer-sized ball between your thighs. Keep your shoulders relaxed and look straight ahead. Slowly squat down until almost in a sitting position while keeping the pillow or ball between your legs. Hold for 10 seconds then slowly return to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions. Practice until you can do three sets of 10 reps.
Stand with the foot of your injured leg on a step or block that is 3 to 5 inches high. Keep your other foot flat on the floor. Shift your weight onto your injured leg and straighten that knee to lift your uninjured leg off the floor. Slowly lower your uninjured leg to the floor. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Swimming is a good cardio exercise for people with knee injuries because the water provides a no-impact workout. Swimming helps improve cardiovascular health and promotes healing by strengthening the knees. Choose the flutter kick or gentle freestyle for a pain-free swimming workout. For best results, swim for at least 30 minutes, four times a week.
Exercises to Avoid
Exercises and activities which may aggravate the kneecap and patellar tendon include wearing high heeled shoes, deep knee bends, sitting “Indian” style, kneeling on the knee caps, breaststroke swimming, squatting, excessive bending, and riding a bike with a low seat. These exercises should all be avoided to prevent further aggravation.
Never exercise if you feel pain. If you experience pain during an exercise, stop immediately and apply ice to reduce inflammation. Contact your doctor if the pain persists. Do not begin a new exercise program without first speaking to your doctor or physical therapist. Only perform the suggested routine to avoid further injury to your knee.