The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the lower leg bone. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. The injury can include:
Treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Tendinopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes structural changes within the tendon.
Patellar tendinopathy occurs from overuse of the patellar tendon. Overuse may be caused by any activity that requires:
Factors that increase your chance of developing patellar tendonopathy include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Options include:
To reduce pain and swelling:
To help manage pain, your doctor may recommend:
This strap, also called a counterforce brace, can help support the tendon and reduce pain. It is worn as a band just below the knee.
Physical therapy will help:
If the treatments above do not reduce inflammation, your doctor may recommend that you consider a cortisone injection. Keep in mind to avoid repeated cortisone injections.
You may need surgery if you have advanced damage to the tendon. Your doctor may also recommend surgery if you have not responded to other treatment methods over a period of several months.
To reduce your chances of getting patellar tendinopathy, take these steps:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Aronen JG, Garrick JG. Sports-induced inflammation in the lower extremities. Hosp Pract. 1999;34:51.
Bursitis and tendinitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis/default.asp#3_3. Updated March 2011. Accessed January 7, 2013.
O'Connor FG, Howard TM, Fieseler CM, Nirschl RP. Managing overuse injuries: a systematic approach. Phys Sportsmed. 1997 May;25(5).
Patellar tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 3, 2012. Accessed April 25, 2013.
Patellar tendon knee tear. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512. Updated August 2009. Accessed April 25, 2013.
Post WR. Patellofemoral pain: let the physical exam define treatment. Phys Sportsmed.1998;26(1).
Steunebrink M, Zwerver J, Brandsema R, Groenenboom P, Akker-Scheek Iv, Weir A. Topical glyceryl trinitrate treatment of chronic patellar tendinopathy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Br J Sports Med. 2013 Jan;47(1):34-9.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed April 2013 by Michael Woods, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
What can we help you find?close ×