Patellar tendinopathy is a source of knee pain arising from injury to the patellar tendon. 

The patellar tendon connects the bottom of the patella (kneecap) to the top of the shin bone (tibia).  The tendon works with the thigh muscles to extend the knee.

Patellar tendinopathy can develop when the patellar tendon becomes damaged by activities involving repeated forces through the patellar tendon.

Another common name for patellar tendinopathy is “Jumper’s knee”.

What Causes Patellar Tendinopathy

The largest amount of stress through the patellar tendon occurs during jumping and landing.

To jump, your thigh muscles provide a forceful contraction, which straighten the knee and push you up.

When you land, the thigh muscles then help to absorb the landing forces.

 

Excessive jumping can strain the patellar tendon and cause minor damage. 

If the tendon is repeatedly strained, damage to the tendon can progressively become worse, causing pain and resulting in patellar tendinopathy.

 

Patellar tendinopathy is known as jumper’s knee due to its prevalence in athletes who participate in sports involving jumping, such as volleyball, basketball, athletics events, tennis, and football.

However, the tendon can also be overloaded in sports that involve abrupt stop-and-start movements and rapid changes of direction, such as: such as netball, tennis, badminton, football.

What Are The Symptoms of Patellar Tendinopathy

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain located at the bottom of the patella
  • Pain with jumping, landing or running
  • Pain increases as load increases – shallow squat into deep squat, jumping/hopping from larger height, walking down stairs
  • Warm up pain – stiff/pain starting activity, which eases with activity
  • Increased pain the day after activity
  • Over time pain worsens and starts to interfere with sport and eventually with daily activities 

Physiotherapy Treatment May Include:

  • Massage
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Ultrasound
  • Dry needling/acupuncture
  • Taping techniques
  • Stretching program to reduce tightness and increase flexibility
  • Rehab program focusing on strengthening muscles around the knee

What YOU Can Do at Home

  • Rest and avoid activities that make the pain worse
  • Ice the painful area
  • Medication
  • Patellar tendon strap  (image) –  A strap that applies pressure to your patellar tendon to help distribute force away from the tendon

Exercises To Help At Home

Gentle Range Of Movement

Wall Squats

Foam Rolling Front Of Thighs