The patellar tendon in junior elite volleyball players and an Olympic elite weightlifter

University dissertation from Umeå : Kirurgisk och perioperativ vetenskap

Abstract: The principal aim of the present thesis was to prospectively follow (clinical status and ultrasound + Doppler findings) the patellar tendons in the young elite volleyball players at the Swedish National Centre for high school volleyball in Falköping. In an Olympic weightlifter with chronic painful jumper´s knee, the effects of treatment with sclerosing injections followed by early instituted very heavy weightlifting training, was also evaluated.First, in a prevalence study, we demonstrated that the clinical diagnosis patellar tendinopathy-jumper’s knee, together with structural tendon changes and vascularisation in the painful area of the tendon, was demonstrated in 12/114 tendons in Swedish junior elite volleyball players, but not in any tendons of individually matched (age, height and weight) not regularly sports active controls. Structural tendon changes alone was demonstrated among the volleyball players but also among the controls.In a 7 months prospective study of a total of 120 tendons, we demonstrated that the clinical diagnosis patellar tendinopathy-jumper’s knee was associated with neovessels/vascularity in the area with structural tendon changes in 17/19 tendons. Seventy tendons that at start were clinically normal, and had normal ultrasound + Doppler findings, remained clinically normal after 7 months with intensive training and playing volleyball.In a 3-year prospective study it was demonstrated that normal clinical tests and normal ultrasound + Doppler findings at school start, indicated a low risk (8%) for these players to sustain patellar tendinopathy-jumper’s knee during the 3 school years with intensive training and playing.In a case study, involving an Olympic elite weightlifter with chronic painful patellar tendinopathy-jumper’s knee, successful treatment with ultrasound and Doppler-guided injection of the sclerosing agent polidocanol, allowed for pain-free very heavy weight training two weeks after treatment. Further heavy weightlifting training on a daily basis, preparing for European Championships, was done without causing tendon rupture and/or pain.Key words: Jumper’s knee, Patellar tendinopathy, Chronic pain, Ultrasonography, Doppler, Neovascularisation, Volleyball, Weightlifting