Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis, also called jumper's knee, is pain in the front of the knee along the band of tissue (the patellar tendon) that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone (tibia).

Symptoms:

  • Pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon

  • Swelling in your knee joint, or swelling where the patellar tendon attaches to the shin bone

  • Pain with jumping, running or walking, especially downhill or downstairs

  • Pain with bending or straightening the leg

  • Tenderness behind the kneecap

Causes:

The most common activity causing patellar tendonitis is too much jumping. Other repeated activities, such as running, walking, or bicycling may also lead to patellar tendonitis. All of these activities put repeated stress on the patellar tendon, causing it to become inflamed.

Patellar tendonitis can also happen to people who have problems with the way their hips, legs, knees, or feet are aligned. This alignment problem can result from having wide hips, being knock-kneed, or having feet with arches that collapse when you walk or run, a condition called overpronation.

Treatment:

Patellar tendonitis is most often treated without surgery. Physical therapy and anti-inflammatories can be helpful, and a special type of brace can be worn that offloads the tendon.  If these treatments are not successful, occasionally a small surgery can be done to remove the portion of the tendon that is not healing well.

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© 2020 by Rajeev Pandarinath, MD

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