Knee

Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar Tendinitis is also known as jumper’s knee. It is an inflammation in the patellar tendon, the band of tissue that connects the kneecap to the shinbone.

Causes

The most common activity causing patellar tendinitis is jumping, hence it is commonly referred to as jumper’s knee. Activities that place repetitive stress on the patellar tendon may cause it to become inflamed. Other activities such as running, walking, or bicycling may also cause patellar tendinitis. Most commonly, however, it is caused by tightness of the quadricep muscles.

Patellar tendinitis can also be caused by problems with the way your hips, legs, knees, or feet are aligned. Having wide hips, being knock-kneed, or having flat feet can predispose you to patellar tendinitis because certain body mechanics will place more stress on these areas with activity.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness around the patellar tendon, especially where it attaches to the patella.
  • Swelling around the patellar tendon.
  • Pain with activities, such as jumping, running, or walking.
  • Pain may be worse with downhill walking or descending stairs.

Treatment

The treatment of patellar tendinitis begins with rest and avoiding activities that cause discomfort. Any problems with body mechanics or alignment should be addressed and corrected if possible. Icing is recommended, and bracing with an infrapatellar strap or a Cho-Pat strap is common. Alternative treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

Operative treatment of patellar tendinitis is rarely necessary.