Patellar Tendinopathy

Overview

Definition

Patellar tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon that joins the kneecap to the lower leg bone.

Patellar Tendonitis
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Causes

The problem is caused by overuse.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in teens and people under the age of 40. It is also more common in people who do things that involve jumping, such as volleyball and basketball.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having a high body mass
  • Doing too much activity too quickly

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

This problem causes pain below the kneecap. It often worse during physical activity and when flexing the knee.

The knee may also be swollen and stiff.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your knee. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Images may be done to confirm the diagnosis. This can be done with:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI scan

Treatments

Treatment

The goal is to ease pain and improve movement. This may be done with:

  • Ice and rest to ease pain and swelling
  • A knee brace to keep the knee from moving
  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee

Procedures or surgery may be done if other methods have not helped.

Prevention

The risk of this problem may be lowered by slowly increasing the length and duration of activities.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Jumper's Knee; Patellar Tendonitis; Patellar Tendinosis; Quadriceps Tendonitis; Infrapatellar Tendinopathy; Patellar Apicitis)

RESOURCES

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org 

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info http://www.orthoinfo.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org 

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org 

References

Patellar tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/condition/patellar-tendinopathy  . Updated May 16, 2019. Accessed March 26, 2020.

Patellar tendon tear. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512. Updated February 2016. Accessed March 26, 2020.

Schwartz A, Watson JN, et al. Patellar Tendinopathy. Sports Health. 2015 Sep;7(5):415-420.