Jumper's Knee (Patella Tendonitis)

What is Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)?

Patellar tendonitis is an inflammation of the patellar tendon, a tendon connecting the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone. The patellar tendon helps muscles extend the lower leg so that one can kick a ball, pedal a bicycle and jump up in the air.

Patellar tendonitis usually occurs due to overuse of the patellar tendon, which is common with sports involving lots of squatting and jumping movements.

Another cause is abnormal alignment of the lower limbs, such as knock knees or flat feet. These altered postures change the angle between the quadriceps muscle and the patellar tendon.

Increased tension in the patellar tendon may occur during growth spurts, such that the tendon cannot keep up with the growth of the lower leg. In this situation, the tendon becomes too short, causing it to pull on the bottom tip of the kneecap, a condition known as Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disorder.

Symptoms of patellar tendonitis include:

  • Pain and tenderness directly over the patellar tendon just below the kneecap
  • Pain when kneeling
  • Swelling

Treatments may include:

  • Knee strapping to reduce pain
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) to reduce swelling
  • Physiotherapy to control pain and inflammation
  • Rest to control pain and inflammation

Orthotics such as shoe inserts may be given to support flat feet or correct the knock-kneed posture.

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