Why You May Develop Patellar Tendonitis
Also called jumper's knee, patellar tendonitis is the inflammation of your patellar tendon, which connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone (tibia). It can result from excessive stress on the knee caused by running and jumping when playing sports like track, basketball and volleyball, where you often jump from a bent-knee position. It can also develop from chronic conditions that reduce blood flow and weaken the knee, such as:
- Kidney failure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Jumper’s knee weakens your tendon. If not treated, it can lead to a torn tendon.
Symptoms of patellar tendonitis include:
- Pain when jumping, running, walking or flexing your knee
- Swelling and pain near your kneecap
- Kneecap out of place
Your doctor can diagnose patellar tendonitis during a physical exam that may include an X-ray and possibly an MRI if symptoms continue after physical therapy.
Patellar tendon repair
The primary treatment for jumper's knee is to stop running and jumping until the injury is healed. Other treatment may include:
- Apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling
- Take over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin to reduce pain and swelling
- Wear a knee brace to reduce movement
What to expect from patellar tendon surgery
There is also a surgical procedure that is available for chronic patellar tendonitis. This is an arthroscopic surgery that debrides (cleans) the damaged area of the tendon from inside the joint and then uses a small incision to remove the injured outer part of the tendon. It is an outpatient surgery with full recovery in about three to four months.