Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar tendonitis — also called jumper's knee — is an inflammation of the tendon that connects the patella (the kneecap) to the tibia (the shinbone) in the knee joint. The tendon is part of the tendon and muscle structure that allows the knee to straighten and bend.

What You Need To Know About Patellar Tendonitis What is Patellar Tendonitis?

What Is Patellar Tendonitis?

The patellar tendon connects the patella (the kneecap) and the tibia (the shinbone). This is an essential part of the structure that supports the knee's fluid movement. Patellar tendonitis occurs when the patellar tendon becomes inflamed because of repeated movements common for athletes. The weakened tendon can tear if left untreated. Repeated movements — such as jumping — weaken the tendon over time. If left untreated, the tendon can tear. People with patellar tendonitis may experience slight to severe pain in their knee. Treatment often includes rest, rehabilitation exercises, and stretching. Surgery for patellar tendon pain is rare, but your doctor may recommend an operation if the tendon is torn. Discover how the sports medicine experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics can keep you active and in the game with our world-class treatment. Get patellar tendonitis treatment at one of our Metro Atlanta locations now!

What Causes Patellar Tendonitis?

As the name jumper's knee suggests, patellar tendonitis often results from overusing your knee by jumping or running on firm surfaces. Repeated movements can strain and tear the tendon, which worsens over time if the knee does not receive proper rest.

Certain factors can increase the chances of patellar tendonitis, including:

Age: People over 40 have a greater chance of needing jumper's knee treatment because the injury gradually worsens over a long period of time.

Athletic activity: Highly competitive athletes who train harder and more often than recreational athletes are at a higher risk of straining their patellar tendons.

Type of activity: Athletes have an increased chance of getting patellar tendonitis if their sports require a high frequency of jumping, running, and fast direction changes.

Patellar Tendonitis Symptoms

People with tendonitis knee report common symptoms, including:

  • Patellar tendon pain around the kneecap and top of the shinbone
  • Swelling
  • Pain when jumping, squatting, or running
  • Pain when straightening or bending the knee

How is Patellar Tendonitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing a patellar tendon injury involves conducting a physical exam to assess symptoms. Your doctor may press areas around your knee and gauge your pain. They may also move your knee to test your range of motion.

In addition to the physical exam, your doctor will ask questions about your activity levels and may use an X-ray or MRI to get an image of your tendon. These scans will be useful for rooting out the cause of your patellar tendon pain and customizing your treatment plan.

Patellar Tendonitis Treatment

Treatment for most cases of patellar tendonitis includes rest, ice, stretching, and physical therapy. Some patients may find a brace to increase the amount of support for their knee. Your doctor may recommend surgery in the rare case the patellar tendon is torn and needs repair.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury, so the most common treatment is to rest the knee and let the tendon repair itself. Additional non-surgical patellar tendonitis treatments include:

  • Icing your knee for 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling
  • Elevating your knee to promote proper blood flow
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, including ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Stretching Wearing a brace to support the muscles and tendons in the knee
  • Physical therapy to rebuild the tendon's strength

Surgical Treatment

In some cases, the tissue is damaged to the point of requiring surgery. Doctors may also recommend surgery if all non-surgical treatments have not healed the condition. Common surgical procedures for patellar tendonitis include:

Arthroscopic debridement: In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a tiny camera and surgical tools into the knee to remove damaged tissue.

Arthroscopic resection of the inferior aspect of the patella: In this procedure, a surgeon removes or realigns any damaged piece of the patella that is stressing the tendon. If you have any questions about patellar tendonitis, schedule an appointment with the knee physicians at Resurgens Orthopaedics today!

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