Marathon training and patella tendonitis

Hello everyone. At last a sunny day!! It’s been a long Winter this year.

The arrival of the Spring weather always heralds the start of the Marathon Season. As people prepare for the impending London and Brighton Marathons in April, we are starting to see more and more running related injuries here at Farringdon Osteopaths. Back in 2011 I wrote about about the condition ‘Runners Knee’ and the need to use the delightful foam roller to keep that Ilio-tibial band (ITB) nice and relaxed in order to prevent injury.(click to read)

This year we are seeing another type of knee injury quite a lot, patella tendonitis. Patella tendonitis produces pain around the knee cap. It is usually caused by excessive tension in the quadriceps muscles, located at the front of the thigh, that then pull on the knee cap to which they all attach. This constant pulling causes the attachment point at the knee cap to become irritated an inflamed. It may feel hot or swollen as well as painful after a run and you will usually find stairs difficult to manage comfortably. This is also a common injury in non-runners.

If you are experiencing these symptoms then icing the knee regularly for 10 minutes at a time throughout the day will help to reduce the inflammation here. Frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel are great for this. Regular stretching of the quadriceps will reduce the pull of the muscles at the knee cap, allowing the area to heal. You may also need to rest for a few days to allow the body to recover.

If your symptoms persist without improvement for more than a week then a visit to the Osteopath can get things moving in the right direction and to make sure that there isn’t a more serious injury underlying.

I cannot emphasise the need to stretch enough during marathon training. The training and the race is a massive amount of exercise for the body to endure, especially if running long distance is something new for you.

Once you start to taper your training next month though, you’ll know that all the hard work is behind you and the feeling of achievement when you cross the finish line will make it all worthwhile.

The best of luck to everyone preparing for April from the team at Farringdon Osteopaths!