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Patella Tendonitis


  • Repetitive or prolonged activity
  • Frequent jumping and landing – particularly on hard surface
  • Rapid acceleration while running
  • Poor footwear
  • Playing or training on an unhealed injury
  • Aching or stiffness above or below the knee cap
  • Pain directly over the Patellar Tendon
  • Weakness in the knee
  • Pain gradually worsens during exercise
  • RICE method after exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication
  • A patella tracking strap or brace
  • Good fitting running shoes
  • Controlled strengthening and stretching activities

What is Patella Tendonitis?

The patellar tendon is the tendon around the knee which connects the kneecap to the shin bone which works together with the quadriceps muscles to support the motion of straightening the knee. Patellar tendonitis occurs when this tendon and surrounding tissues become damaged or inflamed. This is usually due to overuse and in particular in jumping activities, owing to its nickname ‘Jumper’s Knee’, making the injury common in sports such as volleyball and basketball. It is also not uncommon to see this injury in sports which involve a lot of sprinting and changing direction such as football and rugby.

Patella tendonitis Symptoms

The damage is caused when excess force and pressure is placed on the tendon which the tendon is unable to support. When this happens the individual usually experiences pain directly over the patella tendon when pressure is applied which increases when activity is resumed, in particular jumping and accelerating. Aching and stiffness is also likely to be felt after activity and the patient may also experience swelling.

Patella tendonitis Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Patellar Tendonitis is usually carried out by a doctor or physiotherapist who will examine the area before diagnosing the injury; however it is also common for the patient to have an X-Ray or MRI to confirm there are no further complications and to rule out any fractures or breaks.

Patella tendonitis Treatment

In order to treat this injury, rest is crucial so to not damage the tendon any further and to stay away from any activity that could aggravate the knee or causes any pain or discomfort to the area. Continuing any strenuous activity or resuming sport will not only hinder the healing process, it could lead to further damage to the tendon and surrounding tissue. Applying ice to the area is also an important aspect of recovery for any tendon injury as it will minimize any swelling and inflammation of the area. Following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) when the injury first occurs and within the following 72 hours will ensure no further damage is caused to the area and prevent any further swelling of the injury which may come from resuming activity. Anti-Inflammatory medications may be taken to relive the pain of the injury and also to minimize any swelling. A strengthening program may also be advised by a physiotherapist to keep the area strong and ensure flexibility once the injury had healed. This should not be done without professional advice as a patient can run the risk of aggravating the area and increase the healing process. In the final stages of recovery and in the first few months of returning to training, stretching exercises to the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles may be performed to keep the area stable and strong and can also help prevent the injury reoccurring. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the injury however this is rare and often due to a chronic case of the injury whereby other methods of treatment have been unsuccessful.