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Progressive Overload In Patellar Tendinopathy

Patellar tendinopathy is a common knee injury in jumping athletes. There are a lot of different ways to treat this condition including the most traditional eccentric exercises. Followed by isometric and isotonic exercises. Today we will explore what is progressive overload and why it is important for patellar tendinopathy.


What is patellar tendinopathy?

It is an overuse injury of the knee. The overuse of the tendon gets damaged over time and never gets the time to heal properly. Therefore neovascularization around the area compresses into the patellar tendon which causes pain.

The most common cause of patellar tendinopathy is repetitive jumping or running. This will gradually happen overtime and cause pain at the front of the knees. It warms up with exercises and may be painful post exercise.


How is patellar tendinopathy treated?

Eccentric exercises are usually the go-to approach for tendinopathy type injuries. Eccentric exercises involve strengthening by lengthening the muscles. This method loads the tendon and strengthens it.

However there is a new study that talks about progressive overload. The study is a randomised control trial over two years with 76 athletes who are suffering from patellar tendinopathy. The first group is treated with eccentric exercises and the second group is treated with progressive overload. This involves isometric, isotonic and plyometrics along with gradual increase in weights. Results show that after two years, the second group with progressive overload has a higher return to sport rate than the eccentric group.


Take home message:

Although it is only a small randomised control trial with some limitation to it, it is still a very good study to read and learn from. When our patient is not responding well to eccentric exercises, this study shows us that there is another way to be treated with the same, if not a better outcome.


This information can be used to gain a better understanding of patellar tendinopathy. To find out more about how we can help, or to book in for a consultation you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.

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