Patellar tendonitis, also called “jumper's knee,” is damage to the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone.
The patellar tendon along with the quadriceps muscle and tendon allow you to straighten your knee.
Patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury due to repeated stress on the tendon. This causes tiny tears in the tendon.
With rest, your body can repair the tendon tears in the knee.
Without resting the stress to your knee, your body can't repair the tendon tears fast enough. This causes inflammation and pain.
In rare cases, an acute injury to the tendon that hasn't had time to heal can cause patellar tendonitis.
Athletes who play jumping sports — such as basketball or volleyball — have a high risk of getting patellar tendonitis.
Running and soccer can also lead to knee tendon tears.
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent patellar tendonitis:
To make an appointment or learn more about patellar tendonitis, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
The links below will open a new browser window.
UPMC's HealthBeat Blog:
From our Health Library:
The first sign of patellar tendonitis is pain in your kneecap where the tendon connects to the shinbone.
You may also feel pain when jumping or kneeling.
Patellar tendonitis pain often starts off mild, but becomes more severe over time.
To diagnose patellar tendonitis, your doctor at UPMC Sports Medicine will take your medical history and do a physical exam. He or she will look for knee pain by pressing on the tendon.
You might also need x-rays or other imaging tests to rule out:
To make an appointment or learn more about patellar tendonitis symptoms, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
The first goal of patellar tendonitis treatment is to give your body the chance to heal the damaged tendon in your knee.
You can often treat minor knee tendon strains or tears at home with:
The UPMC Sports Medicine team also urges stretches that work the muscles in the:
If your knee pain symptoms don't improve — or if you have swelling around the knee joint — call your doctor right away. You might need surgery to repair the tear in your patellar tendon.
To get back to your sport more quickly and help prevent future knee damage, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee.
A few exercises for patellar tendonitis include:
With each exercise, start at a level that causes no pain. Slowly add resistance each session.
To make an appointment or learn more about patellar tendonitis treatment options, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com