Patellar tendinitis is an injury that affects the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. The patellar tendon plays a pivotal role in the way you use your leg muscles. It helps your muscles extend your knee so that you can kick a ball, run uphill and jump up in the air.
Patellar tendinitis is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball. For this reason, patellar tendinitis is commonly known as jumper's knee. However, even people who don't participate in jumping sports can experience patellar tendinitis.
For most people, treatment of patellar tendinitis begins with physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee.
Pain is the first symptom of patellar tendinitis. The pain usually is located in the section of your patellar tendon between your kneecap (patella) and the area where the tendon attaches to your shinbone (tibia).
The pain in your knee may:
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if your pain:
Patellar tendinitis causes pain in the patellar tendon, which runs from the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). ...
Patellar tendinitis is a common overuse injury. It occurs when you place repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair. But as the tears in the tendon become more numerous, they cause pain from inflammation and a weakening of the tendon structure. When this tendon damage persists over more than a few weeks, it is called tendinopathy.
A combination of factors may contribute to the development of patellar tendinitis, including:
If you try to work through your pain, ignoring the warning signs your body is sending you, you could cause larger and larger tears in the patellar tendon. Knee pain and reduced function can persist if the factors contributing to patellar tendinitis are not addressed, and you may progress to the more chronic state of patellar tendinopathy.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have knee pain during or after physical activity and it doesn't improve with ice or rest, make an appointment with your doctor. After an initial exam, your doctor may refer you to a sports medicine specialist or to a doctor with advanced training in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Below are some basic questions to ask a doctor who is examining you for possible patellar tendinitis. If any additional questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
During the physical exam, your doctor may apply pressure to different parts of your knee to determine exactly where you're experiencing pain. Pain associated with patellar tendinitis usually concentrates on the front part of your knee, just below your kneecap.
Treatments and drugs
Doctors typically begin with less invasive treatments before considering other options, such as surgery.
Surgical and other procedures
Lifestyle and home remedies
If you think you're experiencing patellar tendinitis, consider these approaches to pain relief at home:
To reduce your risk of developing patellar tendinitis, take these steps:
Last Updated: 2012-03-07
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