Patellar tendinopathy: a rehabilitation intervention in elite rugby union players
Patellar tendinopathy is a chronic pathology with a prevalence of 10% to 15% in professional rugby union players. The aim of this study was to determine the outcomes of a 12-week rehabilitation intervention, as proposed by an international e-Delphi panel, in elite rugby union players in South Africa. A pre-test, post-test pilot clinical trial was performed on 16 male participants with patellar tendinopathy. Subjective and objective measurements were performed at baseline and 12 weeks upon completion of the rehabilitation intervention, which included a subjective questionnaire, the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment – Patella (VISA-P) questionnaire, Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and electromyography (EMG) measurement of three muscles of the quadriceps femoris muscle group. The mean age of the participants was 21.8±1.7 years, with the majority having patellar tendinopathy for the first time and a 75% dominant leg involvement. The duration of symptoms varied between four weeks and six months, with the mechanism of injury identified as jumping, running, change in direction, with increased intensity, frequency and duration aggravating the symptoms. The mean VAS score for pain (p=0.001), quadriceps femoris EMG (p=0.002) and VISA-P score (p=0.001) improved significantly over the 12-week period. The intervention showed a statistically significant improvement in pain and functionality.
Keywords: Patellar tendinopathy; Sport rehabilitation; Elite rugby union players