Quadriceps Tendinopathy

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Clinically Relevant Anatomy

Tendinopathies are diseases of the tendon. These can come in many forms, including tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon) and tenosynovitis (inflammation of the sheath surrounding the tendon). The term tendinopathy is used to cover most tendon injuries.

The insertion of a muscle is its lower attachment point. The quadriceps muscles insert at the top of the patella (kneecap). This injury is an overuse injury, as the pain tends to develop gradually over a period of time, rather than at a specific point.

Pain in this area is more common in older athletes and in weightlifters. This is because of the high strain on the muscle insertion during deep squats.

Characteristics/Clinical presentation

  • Pain during and after exercise.
  • Pain on contracting the quadriceps muscles.
  • Pain can also be felt when pressing in along the top of the kneecap.
  • Stiffness the day after training can also occur.
  • Pain when standing from a crouched position.
  • What can the athlete do:
  • Apply Relative rest, compression and elevation.
  • Stretch the quadriceps muscles.
  • See a sports injury professional who can advise on rehabilitation.


Health professional and Physiotherapy management.

  • Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. Ibuprofen).
  • Use sports massage techniques.
  • Give you a corticosteroid injection (in persistant cases).
  • Stretching the quadriceps is a very important part of rehabilitation of this injury and must not be neglected. Rest is unfortunately also important. If you do not rest, it will not get better!
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