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Patellar TendonitisThe patellar tendon is the ligament that attaches the shin bone (tibia) to your kneecap (patella). This tendon helps allow movement to the lower leg muscles and is used when jumping, pedaling, and kicking. When the patellar tendon is overused, it can cause inflammation known as patellar tendonitis (also known as patellar tendinitis or jumper's knee). If not treated immediately, the continued stress in this area of the knee can cause minor tears and further inflammation.
Causes of Patellar TendonitisThe most common cause of patellar tendonitis is overuse, especially from jumping which is why it is sometimes called "jumper's knee". It is commonly seen in sports that require jumping, such as basketball and volleyball. A sudden addition or change to the amount or intensity of your workouts can also increase your chances of patellar tendonitis. Running on hard surfaces and weak muscles around the knee may increase your risk as well.
Less common causes for patellar tendonitis include genetic predisposition (such as with knees that are misaligned) or through direct injury to the patellar tendon.
Symptoms of Patellar TendonitisPatients suffering from patellar tendonitis typically feel pain in the front of the knee below the kneecap, which is where the patellar tendon is located. Pressing on this area may cause additional discomfort. During activities such as jumping or running, you may feel sharp pain that persists even after working out. Some people also experience tightness of the knee and a "squeaking" sensation when moving.
How to Treat Patellar TendonitisIf you think you are suffering from patellar tendonitis it’s best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Most patellar tendonitis can be treated without surgery, though it may be recommended for patients with severe conditions. A key factor in healing is strengthening the leg muscles that support the areas around the knee. Cold therapy (icing the knee) and massage therapy may also be recommended.
Wearing a knee brace that applies pressure to the patellar tendon can also reduce stress and alleviate pain. One such brace is the DonJoy Cross Strap. It helps relieve patellar tendonitis pain without restricting movement.
As with any injury, your doctor will be the best source of advice on the appropriate treatment method for your situation. Regardless of which path of recovery is selected, time is necessary to heal from patellar tendonitis.