Patella tendon is also called patellar ligament because it connects the knee cap to the tibia. The patellar tendon with quadricep tendon and the quadricep muscle allows the knee to straighten out.
Patellar tendonitis is often called as “Jumper’s Knee”. Patellar tendonitis is most often seen in sports athletes who perform repetitive jumping activities.
Patellar tendonitis usually causes pain directly over the patellar tendon or just below the knee cap. It affects about 20% of jumping athletes. Patellar tendonitis can also cause pain above the patella, below the patella, or at the tendon insertion into the tibia. Jumper’s knee most commonly occurs just below the knee cap.
The example of sport activities that commonly causes Jumper’s Knee includes basketball, volleyball, soccer and it also may occur in runners.
About Patellar Tendonitis: It commonly occurs in athletes and causes pain in the inferior patellar region. It begins as inflammation and causes irritation of the patellar tendon. Persistent inflammation progresses to tearing and degeneration of the tendon.
Chronic patellar tendonitis is a degenerative process that may be secondary to inflammatory tendonitis. It affects about 20% of jumping athletes. Symptoms of patellar tendonitis are observed following palpation below the kneecap.
- X-rays appear normal.
- MRI and ultrasound shows Hypertrophy and degenerative changes in the patellar tendon.
- Increased vascularity may be seen in colored ultrasound.
- Doppler study shows abnormalities.
Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis:
- Anti-Inflammatory Medication.
- Physical Therapy.
- Stretching and Strengthening Exercise.
- Activity Modification.
Patellar strap helps knee pain and relieves inflammatory tendonitis pain.
- Do not inject steroids into the tendon directly.
- Inject around the tendon.
- Non-operative treatment will get good response in the early stage of patellar tendonitis.
PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) injection is probably a good option however not proven.
Conservative treatment for Patellar Tendonitis will not work when the patient continues to have pain during activity and rest.
Surgical treatment is indicated if conservative treatment fails for 6-12 months.
Surgery involves excision of the degenerated parts of the patellar tendon.