Patellar tendonitis is a common source of pain in athletes of jumping sports, such as basketball and volleyball. Even if you don’t play one of those sports, if you are fairly active, you can develop patellar tendinitis.
Signs and symptoms of patellar tendonitis
This is an inflammation of the patella tendon, which is the tendon that extends from the bottom of the patella (kneecap) to the top of the tibia. Typically you will notice pain at the top of the patella tendon where it attaches to the bottom of the patella. It can be very painful, especially bothering athletes who need explosive strength to jump and push off. It can significantly limit an athlete’s ability to play at a high level.
Rather than developing after a specific event, it usually develops over time. It might only bother you during sports activities, with little pain at rest. Eventually if it doesn’t improve, though, it can affect activities of daily living.
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Treatment of patellar tendonitis
Affected patients can almost always get over this problem without surgery. Short-term rest from the offending activity can help, although this is difficult in high-level athletes during the season in which they play. Ice to the specific area of pain has been shown to decrease pain. Physical therapy for stretching and strengthening exercises can help as well. Often a physical therapist will also use modalities such as ultrasound to try to decrease pain. Sometimes taping or wearing a patella tendon strap can be useful for athletes while they play or practice.
In this video, I share my thoughts on the signs and symptoms of patellar tendonitis and the steps that can help athletes and weekend warriors overcome this knee pain.
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