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Patellar Tendonitis: What it is and How to Treat it

Patellar tendonitis is a condition in which the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone becomes damaged, resulting in pain and reduced mobility. It is also referred to as “jumper’s knee,” because it is commonly associated with athletes that do a lot of jumping, such as basketball and volleyball players. However, the condition is also seen in other types of athletes as well as individuals that do not play any sport regularly.

Causes of Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis can usually be attributed to constant stress on the kneecap, through activity or structural abnormalities within the knee. Some of the factors that can contribute to the onset of patellar tendonitis include:

  • Imbalance in leg muscle strength
  • Repetitive motion, such as jumping
  • Footwear that does not offer proper support
  • Frequent exercise on a hard surface
  • Misalignment of the leg, foot and ankle

Small tears occur along the tendon, which can lead to inflammation and pain. Once the pain subsides, exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the patellar tendon and protect the joint from further injury.

Symptoms of Patellar Tendonitis

Common symptoms of patellar tendonitis include:

  • Pain just below the kneecap
  • Crunching sensation when the knee is moved
  • Weakness in the knee and calf muscle

Treatment for Patellar Tendonitis

Once the pain of patellar tendonitis subsides somewhat, exercises can be used to gently stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. At In Motion O.C., we recommend the following exercises for patellar tendonitis, which are demonstrated on the In Motion video at YouTube:

  • Straight leg raises
  • Clam stretch
  • Hip flexor stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Foam rolls

While this is a general exercise program designed to address the factors that lead to patellar tendonitis, not all patients get benefit from the “one-size-fits-all” approach to therapy. At In Motion O.C., we customize therapy programs to your specific needs and condition. To learn more, contact our In Motion team at 949-861-8600.

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