Patellar Tendonitis, also known as "Jumper's Knee",
describes pain around the patella, or knee cap. This condition
is common in sports involving jumping, as well as running,
biking, skiing or climbing. The patellar tendon connects the
quadriceps muscle to the patella and then the patella to the
tibia, or shin bone. When the quadriceps muscle contracts,
the lower leg extends through the patella tendon. Forceful
contraction of the quadriceps muscle is needed for power in
activities that involve kicking, jumping or explosion, and
can lead to Patellar Tendonitis.
Symptoms of Patella Tendonitis
The first signs of Jumper's Knee are pain and stiffness.
Pain can be sharp during jumping, landing or with certain
lateral motions. Pain is usually dull and the knee feels stiff
after activity. The pain can usually be localized to an exact
location, and usually occurs between the patella (knee cap)
and where the tendon attaches to the tibia (shin bone).
Causes of "Jumper's Knee"
Increasing activity or intensity of exercise can lead to
Patellar Tendonitis. It can also be an overuse injury in endurance
athletes. Playing more basketball, jumping rope, lifting weights
or trail running can cause Patellar Tendonitis. The repetitive
nature of running or cycling can cause small tears in the
tendon which do not heal in between activity sessions. The
increased stress and small tears can eventually lead to tendonitis.
Patellar Tendonitis is common when activity or intensity is
increased, there are other causes for Jumperís Knee. Increased
body weights, Patella Alta and muscular imbalance can also
cause Patellar Tendonitis. A muscle imbalance can cause the
patella to pull to one side, rubbing against the bone instead
of traveling smoothly across the patella fossa. This is not
unusual in those who have both chondromalacia patella and
Home therapy for Patellar Tendonitis
Ice and rest at home will speed healing of the patellar tendon.
Decreasing intensity and frequency of exercise, as well as
limiting explosion, jumping and climbing can resolve pain
and provide relief for this condition. Runners should avoid
trails and hills, and cyclists may need to have a bike fitting
or evaluate their position on the bike.
When to Seek Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis
Increasing pain or pain that continues for several weeks
after rest is a cause for concern. Your provider can usual
diagnose the problem with a simple exam, but if the provider
is concerned about internal knee damage, further tests may
Your provider will recommend exercises and stretches to correct
imbalances and prevent Patellar Tendonitis from recurring.
A patellar tendon strap decreases pressure on the patella,
allowing a faster recovery. In general, treatment will focus
on lowering inflammation, managing muscle spasms and decreasing
When returning to physical activity, a gradual increase of
intensity and frequency is recommended. Less than 10% increase
in the amount of exercise per week is recommended, as well
as ice and rest, to prevent most overuse injuries.
Mild cases of Patellar Tendonitis can be treated easily by
an experienced provider. Cases that are more severe will require
longer and more involved treatment, especially in cases where
the tendon is actually torn. Itís best to seek treatment early,
before mild cases become severe injuries.
Back to Chiropractic Resources
Chiropractic & Physical Therapy believes in combing
the specialties and experiences of a medical physician,
chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapists
for treating injuries. This comprehensive treatment approach
often produces better results in less time by addressing
the muscle and joint aspect to every injury. Our clinic
is conveniently located to serve the Ahwatukee, Chandler,
Tempe, and Gilbert communities. To learn more about our
treatments please visit the Resource
Pages or Home Page.