Q: I have been diagnosed with tendonitis in the knees and it is worse on one side then the other. It hurts during track practice and after meets, but I really want to finish the season and try and place at the state meet. Is there any “quick fix” that would help me alleviate some of this discomfort?
A: Unfortunately, as with any tendonitis, there is no “quick fix”, but I will offer some suggestions for immediate relief and then ideas of where to go from there.


Tendonitis is the name given for the irritation caused to the tendon that extends from a certain muscle. In your case it is most likely the quadriceps in the front part of the upper leg. When this muscle is constantly shortened and then stretched with high velocities or many times over the period of activity, the tendon becomes irritated and there is a slight breakdown and swelling of the tissue, usually very close to where the muscle attaches to the bone.

The tricky part of eliminating the discomfort, WHILE continuing to exercise, is that in order to strengthen the muscle and tendon complex, you need to use that muscle. But when you use the muscle, this causes irritation to a healing tendon and then pain increases and the tendonitis flares. Basically, this means that the only way to eliminate most if not all discomfort is to stop activity entirely and rest the tendon. Since this is not an option for you, your best bet is to at least try and lessen activity significantly and only train when you absolutely need to for meets.

At this stage, I’m guessing that you are getting towards the end of your season and that the bigger meets are coming up. If you can afford to take some time off hard workouts while tapering for the final meets, this will help. A combination of active movements and correct dynamic stretching techniques prior to exercise, as well as passive stretching and icing afterward is your best bet for the most full recovery. Following a 3-5 minute jog around the track or infield, muscle specific dynamic stretches that put the muscle on a momentary stretch followed by release (ie. Pulling your heel to your buttocks while walking forward) should be done on a regular basis. There is no point to trying to strengthen at this point since that will only cause more irritation and we want to minimize that at this stage. You can try over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, to help with the swelling, but be sure and check with your doctor first to make sure there won’t be any interaction with these medications and others you might be taking. Once the season ends, if you are planning on continuing with track in the future, please stop in to the clinic or see a physical therapist and learn how to properly return to activity with minimized discomfort.

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