A chronically degenerated tendon in the knee causes knee pain without swelling which is medically referred to as tendonosis. It occurs due to the failure of small-scale tendon injuries to heal completely. When these injuries accumulate, it results in a painful sensation without visible manifestations of swelling. The condition mainly affects physically active individuals like athletes, including those who engage in recreational sports activities.
It may take some time for someone who is affected by knee pain without swelling to fully recover as tendons require longer healing time than muscles. Besides, treatment is often delayed due to the absence outward signs. It is recommended to consult the doctor following any knee injury and consider going through physical therapy.
Symptoms of tendonosis
Knee pain without swelling is the primary symptom of tendonosis. Knee pain and inflammation usually come hand in hand due to injury and several chronic conditions. But with tendonosis, the tendons are affected by means of the accumulated microscopic injuries. Tendons are the strong band of connective tissues that attach muscles to the bones. They can withstand small-scale damages and heal over time. Gradually employing some tension on the tendons and muscles will make them stronger. Strength training programs have been designed based on this principle.
However, tendonosis occurs when the injured tendon has not yet fully healed and sustains another microscopic injury. If the improperly healed injuries have accumulated, these may be too much for the tendon to handle, thus resulting in painful sensations. This usually occurs because the fibrous material in the tendons, called collagen, starts to degenerate and will eventually become sore. That is why swelling in not usually evident to the naked eye.
Knee pain without swelling – causes
The patella tendon is affected in knee pain without swelling. The condition can be caused by overstressing the patella tendon through jumping and running. An elevated kneecap as well as lack of muscle flexibility in the hamstrings and thigh muscles can also put undue stress on the patella tendon. Tendonosis could be caused by:
- Constant overuse of tendons in sporting activities like basketball, baseball, running, bowling, and the like.
- Using poorly-fitted equipment and training regimen which result in an uncomfortable position.
- Tendonosis could occur due to sudden injury from a sports activity or falling down from the stairs. It could also arise as a result of a damaged ligament which causes it to become weak. A weakened ligament results in unstable joint which can overstress the tendons.
- Problems related to the covering of the tendons, called sheath, could also be the source of tendon degeneration. This could be an infection caused by certain bacteria after sustaining a cut or suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes.
Treatment for knee pain without swelling
Affected individuals should visit the doctor for proper diagnosis. The doctor will conduct imaging tests to rule out other medical conditions that may be causing the knee pain. Sufferers should shy away from taking anti-inflammatory drugs as conduct self-care treatments because knee pain without swelling is caused by degenerated tendons. Its treatment often involves avoiding overstressing the tendons. It would be best to seek advice from a qualified physiotherapist in designing an appropriate exercise program.