How to treat quadriceps tendon injury or quadriceps tendonitis by mobilizing or breaking down scar tissue and improving circulation? Quadriceps tendon injury can be as a result of direct trauma to the muscle or tendon or after a forceful contraction of the muscle…usually an eccentric contraction while coming down onto the leg when jumping. It can also be due to overuse of the quadriceps tendon from too much running or over training. A lacrosse ball, tennis ball or racket ball can be used to break down scar tissue and improve circulation allowing the tissue to heal properly again. Follow the massage with warm water soak with epsom salt+baking soda+boiled ginger water or a heating pad.
Hey guys, this is Manu Kalia, physical therapist and Ayurveda herbalist. So today I’m going to answer a common question that a lot of you guys have asked me and I get to treat a lot of my patients, too. It’s quadriceps tendon injuries or quadriceps tendonitis or irritation. So, just to give you a little bit of anatomy and as to where that is and what kind of problem it is and why it’s taking place, and also I’ll show you one treatment technique you can use to get that better.
So here’s your femur. This is a model of the knee. So your femur is the thigh bone and the bottom one is your tibia, the shin bone, and on top of those sits your patella, your kneecap. So underneath the kneecap through here is your patellar tendon and the top part through here is your quadriceps tendon. So quadriceps comes and narrows down until it becomes your quadriceps tendon. So that’s the area we’re targeting. That’s where you’re having problems. So to show you on my knee, that’s kind of like right through this area where you can have problems.
So, often with athletes playing sports where you’re jumping, where there’s a quick movement and you come down hard on that tendon and there’s a lot of eccentric force going through there, you can have micro-tears or trauma to that area, which can result in scarring or thickening if it doesn’t heal properly, if a tissue doesn’t lay down properly, and circulation issues, which binds up that area, possibly resulting in tendonitis or tendinosis or some degeneration or wear and tear of that tendon. So breaking down those adhesions is an important thing in terms of freeing up that tissue and promoting circulation in that area so when you bend or when you contract that muscle you don’t have that pain. In addition to trauma or when you come down, as I said, quick on that leg, you can have repetitive strain of that tendon too. So runners often, with a lot pounding in that region and a lot of work for that region or over-training, can get quadriceps tendonitis or irritation-type issues too.
So one of the techniques you can use, and I’ve posted some videos in the past, too, with cross friction massage to break down the thickening and adhesions that form to that area, I’m going to show you just another technique to do self-mobilization using…this is a lacrosse ball. You can also use tennis balls or this is a racquetball if there’s a smaller area we’re trying to target. So what you’re doing is, we’re going to be doing self-massage, self-acupressure and self-mobilization of that tissue to break down the adhesions and then promote circulation in that area.
So mobilization part is, so here’s the ball, I’m going to be targeting just above that area, above that kneecap. So you’re going to be pretty sore through there. And not just that area, you want to kind of work all along that whole quadriceps muscle, all the way up in fact even into the upper front of the hip. But since this is the main target area, you’re going to work at just oscillating back and forth, look for those painful spots, outside, inside, so various positions. Spend 30 seconds, a minute on a spot, and just kind of rolling back and forth. You could even get to a position where you’re going back and forth and then hold that spot, and then bend and strain that knee. So when I bend my knee, I’m stretching that quadriceps. So I’ve got some pressure on there and I’m stretching it. You want to get some deep pulling through there; might have some soreness, too. So really spend about three to five minutes working on that tissue and freeing it up.
Now, remember, first time when you do that, don’t overdo it. Three to five minutes and see how you feel later that day, the next day. You’re trying to assess and see how it tolerates it. You might get a bit sore, but that soreness should subside after a day or two, and then you try the technique again. So if you overdo it, you’re going to get really painful and irritate that tissue further and, one, it’s going to be painful or sore for a few days, and two, you might not want to do the technique again.
So immediately after doing that, mobilizing that, you want to do some massage to that area and use some heat for that area. I posted some videos in the past about the importance of using heat instead of ice, so check out that video. You can even do some warm water soak for that region. Put some Epsom salt, baking soda and stick that leg in a bucket.