UW Health's Sports Medicine doctors treat a wide range of common athletic injuries.
Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee) is inflammation of the patellar tendon due to microtearing at the attachment site of this tendon. Patellar tendonitis is a common overuse injury and is seen frequently in individuals who participate in sports involving jumping, running and cycling.
Signs and Symptoms
Initially the athlete will have pain just below the kneecap (over the tendon) after activity. In the second stage, the pain will be present at the beginning of an activity, disappear during and return after the activity. The third stage is characterized by pain during and after activity, as well as pain with normal daily activity such as walking.
- Sudden increases in exercise intensity or duration
- Poor warm-up prior to activities
- Overuse or over-training
- Stage 1: Treatment in this early stage normally consists of sufficient warm-up, anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by a physician and ice after activity.
- Stage 2: If symptoms persist, moist heat may be needed prior to exercise. Continue treatments from stage 1.
- Stage 3: If symptoms are left untreated or if they don’t respond to stages 1 and 2, rest from the activity that causes patellar tendonitis. Therapeutic exercise treatments provided by a physical therapist or licensed athletic trainer may also be necessary.
- Avoid sudden changes in training or sudden changes in activity
- Begin treatment at first sign of consistent patellar tendon pain
- Modify activities by decreasing or avoiding impact loading (running, jumping and aerobics) until symptoms have subsided
- Gradually return to activity as pain subsides