WHAT IS IT? PATELLAR TENDINOPATHY

Patellar tendinopathy in the past has been frequently referred to as Jumper’s Knee or Tendonitis. 


 It involves degeneration of the patellar tendon, a process termed tendinosis.  


The patellar tendon attaches from the patella to the tibial tuberosity.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain and tenderness below the patella (specifically where the tendon attaches to the inferior pole of the patella).

  • Aggravated by jumping, hopping, changing direction, and squatting

  • Pain occurs at the beginning of exercise, decreases with warming-up, and return post-exercise.

  • Possible wasting of quadriceps muscles

What Causes It?

  • Tightness in quadriceps and hamstrings

  • Abnormal biomechanics

  • Increased pronation

  • Weakness of the calves

How to Self Manage

  • Ice

  • Activity/training modification

  • Increasing stretching of leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, calves)

  • Strengthen lower limb muscles (quads, glutes, calves)

  • Trial a patellar strap to decrease the load on the tendon.

  • See a physiotherapist for further assessment and an eccentric loading program.

Prognosis

  • Return to sport time varies between 3-12 months depending on how chronic the injury is.

  • Ultrasound or MRI investigation may be used for diagnosis purposes.

  • Surgery is an option, whereby scraping of the tendon can significantly reduce sensitivity.

How Physio Helps

  • Assess the patellar tendon to determine if it is the source of pain

  • Biomechanical review

  • Muscle imbalance correction

  • Eccentric loading program for the patellar tendon

  • Prescription of a brace to offload the patellar tendon

  • Deep transverse frictions

  • Stretching of hamstrings, calves, ITB, and calf muscles

  • Strengthening of quadriceps, glutes and gastrocs.

  • Neural mobilisation

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