Patellar tendinitis is an injury that results from damage to the patellar tendon that connects your kneecap (or patella) to your shinbone. Patellar tendinitis is also known as patellar tendonitis or (colloquially) as Jumpers Knee. It is normally an overuse injury.
The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of the thigh to play a key role in straightening the knee when you run, jump and kick. As a result, athletes in sports that require these activities – such as basketball and tennis – are particularly at risk of developing patellar tendinitis/jumpers knee. However, individuals who are not involved in sports like these can also develop the condition.
Patellar Tendinitis Symptoms
The main symptom of jumpers knee is pain below your kneecap. The pain occurs here because the patellar tendon runs between the kneecap and the shinbone (tibia).
You may initially feel the pain of patellar tendonitis only at the start of physical activity or after completing it. However, you may eventually start to feel Jumpers Knee pain when performing everyday activities. These may include (for example) standing up from a seated position or when climbing stairs.
Treatment Of Patella Tendinitis/Jumpers Knee
If the patellar tendinitis is in its early stages, you can try treating it by using ice or a cold compress on the painful area. If possible, you can also try avoiding activities that cause the pain. Given a chance to rest, the patellar tendon may soon recover to its original healthy condition. You may also consider wearing a knee band or strap over the patellar tendon to apply compression for control of pain and any swelling you may have.
Other treatments for patellar tendinits include:
Reducing your activity level, at least as far as running, jumping and deep knee bending activities are concerned;
If a complete suspension of physically demanding activity is not a practical suspension, try interspersing days of high impact activity with days of low impact sports (e.g. swimming) that will not subject your knee to shocks;
Elevating your knee above heart level when you are sitting or lying down.
For a longer term solution to your patellar tendonitis, ask a physiotherapist to prescribe a series of exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles. You can also work with a jumping or running coach. He or she can advise you whether there are improvements in your technique that can reduce the risk that your patellar tendinitis / jumpers knee may return.