Down with Quadriceps Tendonitis

It turns out that it is not a simple Quadriceps Strain. Worse, it is a Quadriceps Tendonitis (QT) — “the inflammation and irritation of the quadriceps tendon.” It is the tendon that connects the large quadriceps muscle to the knee (see picture below taken from a website).
Source: eorthopod.com

Source: eorthopod.com

 When It Started. I felt the pain hours after the RUNew event. The pain was concentrated just above my left knee. It was most painful when I tried standing up from a seated position. I immediately drank a prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine to relieve me of the acute pain. The pain did subside but I knew I had to see a doctor. I have learned a valuable lesson that is is best to immediately consult a doctor at the onset of pain.

I went to see an orthopedic doctor 2 days after (not the one I regularly see at Medical City). He examined my injury and he concluded that it was a quadriceps strain. He advised me to rest and do lots of stretching. He said that it should be gone by 1 week. I strictly followed what he said — warm compress and lots of stretching. However, the pain was still there. It did subside a bit but it got me worried that it might not be just a strain.

Last Saturday, I decided to see my orthopedic doctor at Medical City, the one I regularly see. I purposely did not tell him that I went to see a different doctor to see if the diagnosis would be the same or not. He examined my left knee by pressing and putting pressure below it, on the side and above. Again, I felt the pain just above the knee. Finally, after lots of Q&A and examination, he concluded that it was Quadriceps Tendonitis.

Doctor’s Explanation. He explained that the pain I feel is consistent with QT. It might have been aggravated when I ran too fast on a downhill. But the doctor further explained that it was an accumulation of the activities that I do that might have contributed to the injury — sudden increase in the intensity of the bike & the additional weight put on while doing leg exercises. The downhill run was just what triggered the injury. In summary, it is caused mainly by overuse.

Doctor’s advise. After the diagnosis, comes a litany of advises and precaution.

  • As expected, doctor asked me to rest from running. I can bike (stationary bike) at a very easy effort. Hopefully, it should fully heal by 2-3 weeks.
  • “Fully heal” are the operative words that I must keep in mind. If I run too soon, chances are it would just recur and I would just be going back to the same resting routine. At its worst, the tendon might rupture/tear and surgery would surely sideline me for at least 6 weeks.
  • Do a lot of stretching of the quadriceps
  • Drink 1,000 mg of Vitamin C once a day to help in the healing of the tendon
  • Do not drink anti-inflammatory drugs for now as it sometimes delay the healing

In Danger of Missing the Condura Run. The injury did come at an unfortunate time when I had made very good progress for the 21K Condura Run. I am now into my 2nd week of no running. The pain has considerably subsided with rest and lots of stretching. But I do not know if it is still feasible for me to run 21K considering that I can, potentially at least, get back into running by Mar. 16, the Condura Run week. Right now, I am taking it one week at a time and hope that my condition improves. At the same time, I am preparing to accept the fact that I might not be able to run 21K. It is quite saddening to think about it but the consequences (e.g. tendon rupture, surgery, at least 6 weeks of no running) are far more severe.

There you have it. Whether I can run or not, see you at the Condura Run. Happy Running!

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4 Responses

  1. Bro, this is really bad news. About stretching, I would advise not to do them while they are injured – no matter what people say, I disagree stretching is beneficial to an injured tissue. It’s like stretching a wound, it would only aggravate it. Just do the RICE. We still have 3 more weeks, I think you can make it.

    Thanks Natz. I really hope I can still make it for the 21K. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. oh my God. you’re me, I mean I am you. not really but you’ll get the picture once I explain. The pain was just above my left knee like yourself. I went to see a sport physician who told me after the examination of my knee and looking into x-ray (which did not reveal anything wrong at all). that my quadriceps Muscles were imbalance. one of my quadricep was weaker than the other one. he told me that i will need physiotherapy for the cheap amount of $50 each time I saw the therapist. I went to see a second sport physician just to make sure that diagnosis was correct before starting the treatment. Just like you I did not tell him that I went to see a different doctor to see if the diagnosis would be the same. after examination of my knee (without doing an X-ray), he told me that it’s a quadriceps tendonitis and that I will need physio. I’m wondering why the x-ray did not reveal the quadriceps tendonitis the first DOC? he said that it may take me up to 3 months. I can’t play basketball for a whole 3 months? I’m going to have an MRI in 2 weeks, so will see.

  3. Hi flat foot runner,

    I also think I have this tendonitis. I’ve been doing basically nothing for 3 months now and it still doesn’t feel normal. Did yours get better? Just curious how it ended up.

    • Hi Alison. Yes, I did get better after about 2 months of rest. That’s 2 months of abstaining from running and not doing any other cross training at the gym. If it’s been 3 months, I think you should consider having an MRI. My orthopedic doctor did say if my injury not heal fast enough, he would have recommended an MRI. I hope it’ll be all okay soon. Be safe!

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