Patellar tendinopathy disrupts athletic careers in several sports and is resistant to many forms of conservative treatment. Outcome after conservative treatment has been minimally investigated, and the effect of these treatments on the pathology of overuse tendinopathy are not well understood.
The clinical assessment of patellar tendinopathy appears straightforward, but evidence suggests that the importance of imaging and palpation in diagnosis and ongoing assessment may be overestimated. There is a lack of clinically relevant research on which to base treatment. However, the principles of management for patellar tendinopathy derived from clinical experience include load modification, musculotendinous rehabilitation, and intervention to improve the shock absorbing capacity of the limb. The role of electrophysical agents, massage, and stretching in the treatment of patellar tendinopathy are also discussed. The progression of treatment is based on clinical grounds due to a lack of reliable subjective and objective tools to assess recovery.
The failure of some conservative programs could be due to either athlete compliance or practitioner expertise. The management of patellar tendinopathy is complex, and if the physiotherapist addresses all the principles of treatment, the chance of success could be increased.
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