Patellar Tendonitis refers to inflammation of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Also known as jumper’s knee, the injury is most common among athletes whose sports involve repetitive jumping, running, or bending their knees.

Aside from engaging in repetitive physical activities, other factors that can lead to tendonitis in the knee are muscular imbalance in the legs, tight hamstring muscles, and new running shoes.

Patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury resulting from repeated stress on the patellar tendon. The repeated stress creates small tears in the tendon, which the body will begin to repair. As the tears begin to multiply, they cause pain due to inflammation and weakening of the tendon. If the damaged tendon continues to tear, the injury will eventually lead to tendinopathy.

The main symptom of patellar tendonitis is pain or tenderness between the knee and the shinbone. This pain may initially be felt at the start of physical activity or after a particularly intense workout. As the injury progresses, the pain may be present while walking up stairs, rising from a chair, or performing other such daily activities.

patellar tendonitis

Diagnosis of this condition will typically involve a physical examination and imaging tests. Because pain from patellar tendonitis resides on the front of the knee (just below the kneecap), the physician will apply pressure to parts of the knee in order to determine where the pain is most prevalent.
patellar tendonitis

Initial treatment for patellar tendonitis will typically involve the following conservative methods:

  • Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Stretching therapy to reduce muscle spasms
  • Exercises devised to strengthen the thigh muscles
  • Patellar tendon strap to distribute force away from the injured tendon
  • Corticosteroid injection or iontophoresis therapy

If conservative treatment fails to relieve the symptoms of patellar tendonitis, your physician may suggest surgery to repair the damaged tendon. 

However, for some patients, minimally-invasive adult stem cell therapy may be a much less debilitating alternative to surgery.