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What is Patella Tendonitis? Causes and Treatment Options

Updated: Oct 27, 2023



Patellar tendonitis, also known as patellar tendinopathy or jumper's knee, is a condition that involves degeneration, inflammation and irritation of the patellar tendon. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia), and it plays a crucial role in the functioning of the knee joint, especially during activities that involve jumping or running.


Patellar tendonitis is typically characterised by pain, tenderness, and swelling around the lower part of the kneecap, where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia. It's a common injury, often seen in athletes who participate in sports that involve repetitive jumping and running, such as basketball, volleyball, AFL, soccer and track and field. The condition usually develops due to overuse or excessive strain on the patellar tendon.


Possible Causes of Patellar Tendonitis


Factors that can contribute to the development of patellar tendonitis include:

  1. Inappropriate load management (increasing your training load to quickly not allowing the body time to adapt)

  2. Poor technique or biomechanics during sports activities.

  3. Muscular imbalances or weakness.

  4. Insufficient warm-up or inadequate stretching before exercise.

  5. Inadequate recovery and rest between activities.

  6. Impact - there are times that a direct impact to the tendon can actually set off or be the catalyst for the development of the tendonitis

Patella Tendonitis Treatment


The treatment for patellar tendonitis usually involves a combination of rest, physiotherapy and sometimes medications. Some common strategies include:

  1. Reducing your load: Giving the affected knee time to heal and recover

  2. Icing: Applying ice to the affected area to help reduce inflammation and pain.

  3. Physiotherapy: Engaging in exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee, improve flexibility, and correct any biomechanical issues.

  4. Pain management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications might be recommended by a healthcare professional.

  5. Gradual return to activity: Once the pain and inflammation have subsided, a controlled and gradual return to sports or activities is advised.


It's important to note that early intervention and proper management can help prevent the progression of patellar tendonitis to a chronic condition. If you suspect you have patellar tendonitis or are experiencing knee pain, it's recommended to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Body Fit Physiotherapist

Physiotherapist Adelaide

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