Treatment for Quadriceps Tendonitis

Author : Rao Ali | Published On : 03 Sep 2021

Have you ever felt pain in the knee front or knee cap? The chances are that you might have quadriceps tendonitis, which features tissue damage and swelling of the quad tendon. It develops where the quad links to the top of the kneecap (triggering pain in the knee).

What is the Composition of Quadriceps Tendons?

Your quadriceps play a key role in flattening and flexing the knee, especially during weight-lifting activities. So, it is a significant player during skipping, exercising, crouching, kicking, or sprinting.

When you contract the knee, the tendon places pressure on the quads. So, your quad ligaments might get damaged when the tension is high due to too much repetition or extreme force. Hence, you may suffer from quadriceps tendonitis, muscle degeneration, and swelling.

Though this problem can strike anyone at any age, it is more common in an older sportsperson.

What are the Causes?

So, the most typical reason for this issue is repetitive activities that place pressure on the quad ligaments. It can be aggressive activities or intense sports.

Sometimes, you may develop this problem due to an unbearable force placed on the tendon. Hence, it usually occurs during acceleration while running, when landing from an elevation, or due to a direct hit.

What are the Symptoms?

If you suffer from this ailment, you are likely to suffer pain behind knee that eventually travels to the front side of the knee or kneecap. If your problem is less severe, you may feel a slight ache or stiffness in the knee that increases with contraction.

As the problem advances, it may impact your activities and performance levels. Sometimes, you may experience inflammation and weakness when running or bending. Other symptoms include pain when walking uphill or stretching quads.

How to Diagnose?

If you feel pain in your kneecap, you must visit a consultant who will conduct a detailed subjective and objective examination of your knee. Sometimes, imaging tests (like ultrasound, x-rays, MRI, and CT scan) are required to evaluate the internal condition of the knee.

What is the Treatment?

The majority of the time, this problem is resolved through physiotherapy. However, you need to follow the exercise regime to achieve results strictly. One of the critical approaches is avoidance of any activity that triggers pain unless you have fully recovered. The reason is that rest speeds up the healing procedure and prevents further tissue damage. However, when you are symptom-free, you can gradually resume the activities. If you ignore symptoms, you are likely to aggravate your condition. So, immediate treatment may save you from chronic conditions.


Following a RICE (rest, ice therapy, compression, and elevation) regime in the initial injury phase will relieve you within the first 24 hours. However, you may also try anti-inflammatory medicines to heal pain and inflammation.

Rehab Program

Another great therapeutic technique is knee massage, activation point discharge, joint mobilization, dry needling, stretches, and electrotherapy. It will not only speed up healing but also improve your knee flexibility and functionality.

So, if you suffer from this problem, you should engage in flexibility and strengthening workouts as part of your rehab program. Your physiotherapist can advise you on the ideal exercises that will support your quads and core stabilizers.

In the final phases of the rehab program, an advanced return to running program is advisable as it will help recondition your tendons and support safe and effective running. It may also embrace progressive acceleration and deceleration running training before you resume your sports activities.

What is the Outcome?

If you follow a rehabilitation program to manage your condition appropriately, you will likely recover within a few weeks (if your condition is minor). However, if you suffer from a chronic condition, the recovery period might be prolonged and take months. Hence, early physiotherapy intrusion is necessary for a speedy recovery.  

Which Factors Contribute to the Development of Quads Tendonitis?

Many factors can expose you to this condition, so you must evaluate and improve it with the guidance of a physiotherapist. The factors include:

  • Hip, Knee, Ankle, or Spinal Joint Toughness

  • Tight quadriceps, hamstrings, or calf muscles

  • Improper or excessive training

  • Insufficient warmup

  • Muscle feebleness

  • Compromised pelvic or core strength

  • Improper Rehab (due to a previous injury)

  • Wrong foot posture

  • Improper footwear

  • Biochemical Problems

What are the Physiotherapy Techniques?

Physiotherapy treatment is essential to speed up the healing procedure as it promises optimal results and diminishes the probability of injury recurrence. The treatment includes:

  • Soft tissue massage

  • Ultrasound therapy

  • Stretches

  • Joint Utilization

  • Kneecap Taping

  • Ice or Heat Therapy

  • Workouts to enhance core stability, strength, and flexibility

  • Crutches

  • Training

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Modifying activity

  • Advising proper footwear

  • Prescribing orthotics

  • A progressed return to the activity program

What are the Other Interventions?

Although following a proper physiotherapy management program is helpful, but there are chances that you might not fully recover. So, in this case, your doctor or physiotherapist may recommend you an alternative course of management.

It may include imaging tests like x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, and CT scans. In comparison, medications may consist of corticosteroid shot, autologous blood-booster, or referring to the proper authorities for further investigation.

Which Exercises to Follow?

Below are some of the common exercises you can follow to improve your condition. You can perform it one to three times daily, but make sure it does not aggravate your condition.

Static Internal Quads Tightening

Stiff your thigh muscle by forcing your knee down into a tiny towel. Then, place your fingers in your internal quads to feel the tight muscle (during contraction). Maintain for five seconds, and repeat for at least ten times.

Quads Stretch

You may use a chair or table to maintain your balance. Move your heel towards your behind while keeping both knees and your spine straight unless you feel a minor to modest stretch in your quads. Remain in this setting for at least five seconds, and repeat for ten times.

Which Physiotherapy Products You Must Use?

The popular physiotherapy products that may help improve your condition are:

  • Props

  • Ice or Heat Packs

  • Sporting Tape

  • Self-massage foam rollers

  • Self-massage spikey massage balls

  • Resistance Band for workouts

  • Tens Machines to relieve pain