The patellar tendon is located at the front of the knee joint. It is a strong band of tissue that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia).
The patellar tendon helps your muscles to extend your lower leg so that normal knee functions can be carried out such as kicking a ball, pedalling a bicycle, jumping up in the air, among others.
Patellar tendonitis – also known as jumper’s knee – is a common injury caused by an overuse of the patellar tendon.
Overuse of the patellar tendon can cause small tears in the tissue, leading to pain and inflammation. This condition typically occurs in individuals who play sports that involve repetitive squatting, running, and jumping movements.
- Pain and tenderness in the front of the knee, just below the kneecap.
- Swelling and stiffness in the knee joint.
- Pain that worsens with jumping or running.
- Weakness in the knee joint.
- Common in younger individuals in their teens and 20s.
- Men are at a higher risk to develop patellar tendonitis compared to women.
- Patellar tendonitis is more common among people who are active in sports that involve jumping such as basketball, volleyball, among others.
- Engaging in activities that require repetitive jumping or running (overuse) can add stress to the patellar tendon, thus increasing the risk of injury.
Your doctor would first question your general health and symptoms before conducting a thorough physical examination.
Diagnosis is made based on your reported symptoms, physical examination, and investigations.
During a physical examination, your doctor will examine the knee joint for signs of inflammation. Certain tests may also be performed to assess the knee joint’s strength and flexibility.
Imaging tests such as an X-ray can help rule out other conditions, such as arthritis or a fracture. An MRI can provide a more detailed view of the soft tissues in the knee joint, including the patellar tendon.
Non-surgical treatments can alleviate pain for most people with Patellar tendonitis.
- Rest and avoid activities that cause pain and irritation to the patellar tendon to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, improve flexibility, and reduce stress on the patellar tendon.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce pain and swelling.
- Modify training routine or change the way certain activities is performed can help reduce stress on the patellar tendon and prevent further injury.
Gleneagles Hospital works with orthopaedic specialists to assist patients through diagnosis and treatment. The caring and multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals are available for consultation and to provide the best care.