Quadriceps Tendonitis

The knee being one of the major weight bearing joint in our body, absorbs a lot of stress over the years. Years of stresses across the joint can lead to overuse and malalignment in the structures of the knee joint. This further leads to strain, irritation and inflammation of the quadriceps tendon and can sometimes even lead to tears in the tendon. This may manifest as nagging pain above the knee which maybe associated with swelling and weakness in the functioning of the quadriceps. Quadriceps tendonitis is essentially an overuse injury and sports which are the usual culprits are running, football and volleyball.

Treatment for Quadriceps Tendonitis

Relevant Anatomy

The quadriceps mechanism involves the confluence of the large quadriceps muscle into a tendon. The patella is cushioned inside the tendon, and this tendon further extends inferiorly from the patella and goes and inserts into the tibial tubercle on the tibia. The tendon along with the patella essentially comprise the quadriceps mechanism. Though functionally the tendon is treated as one, it comprises of two different structures, the quadriceps tendon inserting on the upper half of the patella and the patellar tendon which is the continuity of the tendon from the lower end of the patella inserting onto the tibial tubercle.

Contraction of the quadriceps brings about straightening of the knee. The patella acts as a fulcrum whereas the Femur (thigh bone) and Tibia (leg bone) act as levers subjecting the knee joint and surrounding structures to massive loads. The joint reaction forces are two to three times body weight during walking and upto five times while running.




Clinical examination is carried out after through history taking. Tenderness can be usually elicited with palpation of the quadriceps tendon insertion. The knee is examined for range of movement, detecting laxity and structural integrity in various planes. The clinician should rule out intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting the knee eg. sudden changes in training habits. Alignment of the knee, foot and ankle is checked. In case of a ruptured quadriceps tendon, a gap might be palpated at the insertion site. Weakness in the extensor mechanism might be indicative of insufficiency of the quadriceps. An X-ray of the knee can show fractures or the presence of calcium deposits in the quadriceps muscle but these do not pick up soft tissue injuries. High definition.

Ultrasound and MRI are the preferred investigations in diagnosing tears, tendonitis and tendinitis. Ultrasound can be further helpful in guiding Regenerative treatments like Platelet Rich Plasma and Prolotherapy.


Conservative Treatment
Interventional Pain Management & Regenerative Medicine

Platelet Rich Plasma with Prolotherapy – In our experience, we have seen the best results in patients who undergo PRP with prolotherapy, follow a structured exercise regime and are ready to incorporate lifestyle and nutritional modifications to improve the environment of the affected tendon to heal. Image guidance in the form of a high definition ultrasound is used. PRP is delivered at the site of maximum pathology and the rest of the structures are treated with dextrose prolotherapy. Sometimes, local steroid injection to reduce the inflammation must be undertaken. Care must be taken to avoid successive steroid injections as they can weaken the muscle.

Surgical Intervention

If nonsurgical treatment fails to serve the purpose,, surgery may be suggested. Surgery is aimed at stimulating healing through revascularization (restoration of blood supply). Damaged tissue is removed and the tendon is repaired. A well-planned rehabilitation program lets most patients return to their previous level of activity without recurring symptoms.

FAQs - Quadriceps Tendonitis

 What is a Quadriceps Tendonitis condition?

Quadriceps tendonitis is a painful condition in the quadriceps of the muscles and tendons in the areas of knee structures. It causes inflammation due to overuse and malalignment in the structures of the knee joint. Tendonitis can also affect the knee, joints, hip, ankle, or quadriceps. Overall, quadriceps tendonitis is usually associated with an overuse injury and sports.

What causes Quadriceps Tendonitis?

Quadriceps Tendonitis injuries are due to injuries from playing sports. Excessive training and rapid escalation in the duration of training are other factors that contribute to quadriceps tendonitis injuries. It also causes by wearing improper footwear might cause injuries related to tendonitis.
Running on hard surfaces is the cause of getting quadriceps tendonitis injuries.

Is quadriceps tendonitis severe?

Anyone can get quadriceps tendinitis, and athletes have a higher risk. Often, quadriceps tendinitis gets better within weeks, but sometimes it prolongs. For better results, consult the best pain management specialist for effective treatment.

What are the risk factors for quadriceps tendonitis?

The risk factors for quadriceps tendonitis include:

  • Age factor
  • Athletes – people who run, jump, play sports like volleyball or soccer
  • Chronic diseases like diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • and other chronic alignments
What are the symptoms of quadriceps tendonitis?

Patients suffering from quadriceps tendonitis will have pain at the bottom of the thigh above the patella (knee cap).

  • Aggravate pain in the areas of tendons
  • Swelling in the distal thigh
  • Stiffness in the knee in the early morning
  • Warmth or burning pain around the affected areas
How quadriceps tendonitis diagnosis takes place?

Clinical examination will be carried to assess full physical examination. The knee movement of the knee is examined Discussing the routine activity and sports-related activities (if any) with the doctor Your physician will look for torn or ruptured tendons in the quadriceps

What are the tests carried out during diagnosis?

Tests that are carried out include:

  •  X-Ray – to detect fractures or the calcium deposits present in the quadriceps muscle
  •  Ultrasound and MRI scans to determine the tears, tendonitis, and tendinosis
What are the treatment procedures carried for quadriceps tendonitis?

Treatment options available for quadriceps tendonitis are:

  • Conservative treatment
  •  Interventional Pain Management & Regenerative Medicine
  •  Surgical Intervention
What is the best method of treatment option?

Treatment for quadriceps tendonitis is purely based on patient-to-patient. Most patients are recovered through non-surgical methods. The treatment can be of a combination of multiple procedures depending on the condition and severity.

What is the Conservative Treatment?

The first-line of conservative treatment usually involves:

  • Rest: helps in protecting the injury, limiting movements of the knees that are overused. During the period of rest, a short time of immobilization in a splint or brace is required.
  • Ice: Applying ice around the swelling or the affected area will help in minimizing pain and swelling.
  • Elevation: It helps in relieving pain, raising your knee on the elevated surface will minimize the swelling.
  • Anti-Inflammation: Medications help in limiting the pain, relief from pressure, and increasing stability.
Does physical therapy helps in improving stability and flexibility?

Physical therapy and exercises play a crucial role during the rehabilitation process. Getting in touch with physical therapists will help you guide with the best plan of therapies.

What other non-surgical procedures are there for quadriceps tendonitis?

The other modalities of treatment that helps in reducing pain are:

  • Massage
  •  Local Ultrasound Application
  • Electrical Stimulation
What are the exercises that help in correcting the muscle imbalance?

Stretching and strengthening exercise serves the purpose of correcting muscle imbalances. Eccentric Muscle strengthening helps in the cases of chronic tendinosis, boosts blood circulation, and promotes tissue healing.

How does Interventional Pain Management & Regenerative Medicine work?

Platelet Rich Plasma with Prolotherapy is widely known to yield the best results in patients. PRP is delivered using image guidance in the form of high-definition ultrasound. Local steroid injections are sometimes used to reduce inflammation.

What are the post-treatment guidelines of Interventional Pain Management?

Patient should strictly follow a structured exercise regime. Nutrition modifications should be incorporated into the lifestyle. Hence, your nutritionist will execute the plan.

Why surgical intervention is required for quadriceps tendonitis?

Most patients are treated with non-surgical treatment options. In most cases, either with conservative treatment or interventional pain management treatment, a high success rate has emerged.
A surgical option is the last option if all the non-surgical techniques are failed. It aims to stimulate the healing process through revascularization (restoration of blood supply). During this procedure, damaged tissue is removed and the tendon is repaired. Post-treatment guidelines should be strictly followed for a well-planned rehabilitation program.

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