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).


 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!