Patellar Tendonopathy

(Jumper's Knee; Patellar Tendonitis; Patellar Tendonosis; Quadriceps Tendonitis; Infrapatellar Tendonopathy; Patellar Apicitis)

Definition

The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the lower leg bone. Tendonopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. The injury can include:
  • Tendonitis—inflammation of the tendon
  • Tendonosis—tiny tears in the tendon tissue with no significant inflammation
Treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
Patellar Tendonitis
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Causes

Tendonopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes structural changes within the tendon.Patellar tendonopathy occurs from overuse of the patellar tendon. Overuse may be caused by any activity that requires:
  • Intense running
  • Jumping
  • Frequent stops and starts
  • Frequent impact to the knee
  • Falls
  • Tendon weakness from certain diseases

Risk Factors

Physically active teenagers and young adults are at higher risk. Factors that increase your chance of developing patellar tendonopathy include:
  • An increase in the frequency of training
  • A sudden increase in the intensity of training
  • Changing from one sport to another
  • Training on a hard surface
  • Repeated improper movements while training
  • Muscle weakness or imbalance
  • Involvement in basketball, soccer, volleyball, or running

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Pain and tenderness in the patellar tendon below the kneecap
  • Pain or tightness in the knee when bending, squatting, or straightening the leg
  • Discomfort in the knee when jumping, squating, or walking up stairs

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