Patellar tendinitis

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Not to be confused with Runner's knee which often affects runners; or Sinding-Larsen and Johansson syndrome and Osgood-Schlatter disease which primarily affect young athletes.
Patellar tendinitis
Patellar Tendonitis.jpg
Specialty Rheumatology Edit this on Wikidata

Patellar tendinitis (patellar tendinopathy, also known as jumper's knee), is a relatively common cause of pain in the inferior patellar region in athletes. It is common with frequent jumping and studies have shown it may be associated with stiff ankle movement and ankle sprains.[1][2]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Jumper's knee (patellar tendinopathy, patellar tendinosis, patellar tendinitis) commonly occurs in athletes who are involved in jumping sports such as basketball and volleyball. Patients report anterior knee pain, often with an aching quality. The symptom onset is insidious. Rarely is a discrete injury described. Usually, involvement is infrapatellar at or near the infrapatellar pole, but it may also be suprapatellar.

Depending on the duration of symptoms, jumper's knee can be classified into 1 of 4 stages, as follows:

Stage 1Pain only after activity, without functional impairment

Stage 2Pain during and after activity, although the patient is still able to perform satisfactorily in his or her sport

Stage 3Prolonged pain during and after activity, with increasing difficulty in performing at a satisfactory level

Stage 4Complete tendon tear requiring surgical repair

It begins as inflammation in the patellar tendon where it attaches to the patella and may progress by tearing or degenerating the tendon. Patients present with an ache over the patella tendon. Most patients are between 10 and 16 years old. Magnetic resonance imaging can reveal edema (increased T2 signal intensity) in the proximal aspect of the patellar tendon.


It is an overuse injury from repetitive overloading of the extensor mechanism of the knee. The microtears exceed the body's healing mechanism unless the activity is stopped.

Among the risk factors for patellar tendonitis are low ankle dorsiflexion, weak gluteal muscles, and muscle tightness, particularly in the calves, quadriceps muscle, and hamstrings.[3]

The injury occurs to athletes in many sports.



Early stages may be treated conservatively using the R.I.C.E methods.

  1. Rest
  2. Ice
  3. Compression
  4. Elevation

Exercises involving eccentric muscle contractions of the quadriceps on a decline board are strongly supported by extant literature.[4][5][6][7] A physical therapist may also recommend specific exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles and tendons, eg. cycling or swimming. Use of a strap for jumper's knee and suspension inlays for shoes may also reduce the problems.

Should this fail, autologous blood injection, or platelet-rich plasma injection may be performed and is typically successful though not as successful as high volume saline injection (Crisp et al.).[citation needed] Uncommonly it may require surgery to remove myxoid degeneration in the tendon. This is reserved for patients with debilitating pain for 6–12 months despite conservative measures. Novel treatment modalities targeting the abnormal blood vessel growth which occurs in the condition are currently being investigated. New research shows that knee operations in most cases have no better effects than exercise programs, and that most knee operations thus can be avoided.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Backman, Ludvig J.; Danielson, Patrik (2011). "Low Range of Ankle Dorsiflexion Predisposes for Patellar Tendinopathy in Junior Elite Basketball Players: A 1-Year Prospective Study". Am J Sports Med. 39: 2626–2633. doi:10.1177/0363546511420552. 
  3. ^ Koban, Martin (2013). Beating Patellar Tendonitis. pp. 20–25. ISBN 978-1491049730. 
  4. ^ annell LJ, Taunton JE, Clement DB, Smith C, Khan KM (2001). "A randomised clinical trial of the efficacy of drop squats or leg extension/leg curl exercises to treat clinically diagnosed jumper's knee in athletes: pilot study". Br J Sports Med. 35 (1): 60–4. doi:10.1136/bjsm.35.1.60. PMC 1724276Freely accessible. PMID 11157465. 
  5. ^ Purdam CR, Jonsson P, Alfredson H, Lorentzon R, Cook JL, Khan KM (2004). "A pilot study of the eccentric decline squat in the management of painful chronic patellar tendinopathy". Br J Sports Med. 38 (4): 395–7. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2003.000053. PMC 1724885Freely accessible. PMID 15273169. 
  6. ^ Kongsgaard M, Aagaard P, Roikjaer S, Olsen D, Jensen M, Langberg H, Magnusson SP (2006). "Decline eccentric squats increases patellar tendon loading compared to standard eccentric squats". Clin Biomech. 21 (7): 748–54. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2006.03.004. 
  7. ^ Håvard Visnes; Roald Bahr (2007). "The evolution of eccentric training as treatment for patellar tendinopathy (jumper's knee): a critical review of exercise programmes". Br J Sports Med. 41 (4): 317–23. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2006.032417. PMC 2658948Freely accessible. PMID 17261559. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

External resources