Overview on popliteal tendonitis

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Popliteal tendonitis is an overuse injury involving the popliteal tendon. It is important to note that the popliteus is a small-sized muscle that is positioned at the rear part of the knee. It is vital in unlocking the knee from a completely straight position as well as for daily activities such as walking. In addition, it is vital in providing stability around the knee joint and controlling the shearing forces bordering the knee.

What are the causes?

Popliteal tendonitis can be brought about by various factors such as:

  • Traumatic knee injury
  • Overuse of the popliteus muscle especially activities that involves running
  • Muscular imbalances in the lower limb
  • Chronic instability surrounding the knee joint
  • Fatigue
    Knee pain over the exterior aspect that can radiate to the back part of the knee.
  • Incorrect technique during exercise

What are the indications?

The usual indications of popliteal tendonitis generally include:

  • Knee pain over the exterior aspect that can radiate to the back part of the knee
  • Clicking
  • Reddening and/or swelling over the exterior of the knee
  • Sensation that the joint is about to “give away” during weight bearing
  • Pain or discomfort when straightening the knee
  • Knee weakness
  • Pain or achiness when bending the knee from a straight position

Once the injury is diagnosed, the doctor or physiotherapist will check for any indications of the condition. An ultrasound or MRI might be required to confirm a diagnosis.

Management of popliteal tendonitis

Many individuals with popliteal tendonitis start to feel better in just a couple of weeks of treatment. The length of recovery is based on various factors such as the age, previous activity level, length/ degree of the injury and compliance to treatment.

The treatment is aimed on:

  • Lowering the inflammation and pain
  • Normalizing the range of motion of the joint and muscle length
  • Strengthening of the muscles around the knee and in the lower limb
  • Improving balance, proprioception ang agility
  • Improving the function and techniques in running, walking or landing
  • Reducing the risk for re-injury

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on popliteal tendonitis is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage this tendon condition, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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