Knee pain·Supports

“Tendons might not be very sexy, but they are important”

GenuPoint relieves strain symptoms at the patella

From Bauerfeind Life Magazin on 06.07.2016

Stabbing pains below the kneecap are characteristic of patellar tendinopathy. A study conducted by Dr. Hans Zwerver from the Netherlands shows that the new GenuPoint patellar tendon support can reduce discomfort.

The patellar tendon helps to control and protect the knee. However, its complex protection mechanism also makes it particularly susceptible to strain injuries. The patella connects the upper and lower leg. The tendon of the quadriceps muscle, which is the largest muscle in the human body, extends directly over the patella from the thigh to the tibia. This makes the patella the pivot point for levering the force of the thigh muscle and increases its effect. The patellar tendon transmits this force to the lower leg. Particularly vigorous, repetitive strain can lead to microtraumas, which can have a dramatic impact. The morphology of the irritated patellar tendon changes, with partial thickening as one of the consequences. This results in stabbing pains at the apex of the patella and causes physiological dysfunctions that alter the flow of movement in the knee joint.

“Jumper’s knee” hurts when you jump – and hurts even more when you land

Dr. Hans Zwerver from the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Groningen.
Dr. Hans Zwerver from the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Groningen.

It is telling that the strain syndrome “jumper’s knee” predominantly affects athletes who are constantly jumping. For long jumpers and volleyball players in particular, jumping puts a huge tensile load on the patellar tendon where the tendon and bone meet and landing is almost more intense. Other athletes whose sports involve a lot of jumping, such as basketball players and high jumpers, also suffer from the symptoms associated with chronic irritation of the patellar tendon. Irritation can occur in various areas of the patellar tendon: the attachment point at the tibia, the attachment site at the muscle above the patella, or directly at its site of origin, namely the apex of the patella. This third site is the most common and this is also known as patellar tendinopathy. “Jumper’s knee” patients describe pain related to activity. Depending on the stage of the condition, the pain occurs immediately after exercising or even at the start of exercise, generally disappearing again after a warm-up period. The symptoms should be taken seriously as pain can become persistent in the advanced stages and affect activities of everyday life, e.g. climbing stairs. In the case of patellar tendinopathy, the condition can often become chronic. The athlete risks having to take long periods of time off from training and competing if treatment is delayed or inadequate. In the worst case scenario, they may have to give up their sport altogether. An early diagnosis with the help of medical imaging is vital for a successful recovery from patellar tendinopathy.

The study shows that patients experience less pain with GenuTrain

The support provides targeted relief for the tendon attachment point.
The support provides targeted relief for the tendon attachment point.

“There is still some uncertainty about the causes, risk factors, and prevention of patellar tendinopathy,” says Dr. Hans Zwerver from the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. The tall sports physician, himself a former top basketball player, knows what he is talking about. At the Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen (the University Medical Centre Groningen or UMCG), he and his team, including doctoral student Astrid de Vries, are researching the very condition that affected the physician during his sporting career: “jumper’s knee.”
One possible therapeutic approach is use of the new GenuPoint patellar tendon support from Bauerfeind. “We tested the support in a study,” the tendon expert reports, “and the results were significant.” During the course of the study, various stress tests, both with and without the support , were performed on 29 athletes who had been suffering from strain symptoms for an average period of 14 months. The average age of the participants was 23 and the majority of them were volleyball players. After the tests, they answered questions about their symptoms. The participants were able to rate the severity of their pain on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) from 0 (no pain) to 100 (worst pain imaginable). The results were clear: 70 percent of the participants had fewer symptoms when wearing the GenuPoint support. “They didn’t jump further or higher with the support ,” explains Astrid de Vries, emphasizing that the results relate to reducing symptoms and not to enhancing performance.

The GenuPoint relieves and stimulates the patellar tendon

The GenuPoint patellar tendon support has a special pad to take pressure off the patellar tendon attachment point. As such, the narrow support is able to alleviate strain symptoms. The anatomically contoured GenuPoint support also features a crescent-shaped cutout at the lower patellar attachment point. Its special , integrated pad has four pressure points which apply force to the area around the patellar tendon. Friction nubs boost this targeted compression, massage the knee during movement , and stimulate the tendon. “As with all strain injuries, prevention is the best treatment ,” Dr. Zwerver stresses. “This is important because the pain only occurs quite late on with patellar tendinopathy.” The sports physician identifies some convincing advantages of the GenuPoint support compared to sports tape, which could be seen for a long time around the tennis player Rafael Nadal’s knee, for example. “A support of this type is clearly cost-effective,” the doctor observes. “And it has benefits for the skin too.”
When asked about the precise mechanisms that cause “jumper’s knee”, the first thing the tendon specialist cites is an imbalance between the strain a tendon bears and its ability to cope with strain, which can ultimately lead to structural changes. Jumping and landing techniques can also be triggers. According to the expert , chronic cases generally involve a combination of factors. The motivation behind his research? Dr. Zwerver smiles. “Tendons might not be very sexy, but they are important.”

Pictures: Ronald Zijlstra

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