Patellar Tendinitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

By: Juliet Cohen

Patellar Tendinitis is an extremely common malady that can plague almost anyone, from athletes to laborers. Patellar Tendinitis is also known as jumpers knee. It is common in people involved in activities that include a lot of running, jumping, stopping and starting. The patellar tendon is a structure that attaches the quadriceps muscle group to the tibia (shin bone). This tendon connects the patella (kneecap) to the lower leg bone (tibia). The patella (knee cap) is a sesamoid (floating bone) incorporated into the patellar tendon. ellar tendinitis is seen in athletes participating in sports such as volleyball, basketball, the high jump and soccer. Patellar tendinitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the patellar tendon. It occurs when you place repeated stress on your patellar tendon, often when you suddenly increase the intensity or frequency of your workouts. In extreme cases, the patellar tendon may become damaged to the point of complete rupture. Pain from patellar tendinitis is felt in the area just below the patella. There may be swelling in and around the patellar tendon and it may be sensitive to touch.

Patellar tendonitis can also happen to people who have problems with the way their hips, legs, knees, or feet are aligned. Examination techniques that detect tenderness and swelling in or around the patellar tendon are helpful in determining if someone has patellar tendinitis. The pain can become continuous both at rest and during training; unfortunately it is only at this later stage that athletes tend to seek medical advice. The patellar tendon may sometimes tear completely, or rupture, during strenuous activity. The patellar tendon becomes inflamed and tender due to overuse. Overuse injuries of the patellar tendon occur when you repeat a particular activity until there is micro-failure of the tissue that makes up the substance of the tendon. The best course of treatment for jumper's knee is to discontinue any activity that is causing the condition, until the injury is healed. A MRI is useful in patients with chronic patellar tendonitis to look for areas of degenerative tendon.

Causes of Patellar tendinitis

The common causes and risk factor's of Patellar tendinitis include the following:

Overuse of the knee tendon.

A sudden, unexpected injury like a fall.

Running in the "shoulder" of the road.

Frequent impact to the knee.

Muscle weakness or imbalance.

A sudden increase in the intensity of training.

Lack of proper stretching.

Symptoms of Patellar tendinitis

Some sign and symptoms related to Patellar tendinitis are as follows:

Pain and tenderness in the patellar tendon below the knee.

Swelling in your knee joint or swelling where the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone.

Progress to be present before, during and after physical activity.

"Snapping" sensation with squat motion.

Become a constant ache that can make it difficult to sleep at night.

Pain with activities, such as jumping, running, or walking.

Treatment of Patellar tendinitis

Here is list of the methods for treating Patellar tendinitis:

Apply ice or a cold pack to the knee for 15-20 minutes, every 4 hours, for 2-3 days. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel.

Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).

Heat therapy prior to activity followed by increased stretching.

Rest & Immobilization.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and swelling.

Special stretching exercises to loosen up the muscle.

Another helpful tool is to apply a strap above the knee with pressure placed just above the site of irritation (above the lateral epicondyle). This band helps dissipate the tension on the tendon.

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