Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

What is jumper's knee?

Jumper's knee, also known as patellar tendonitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation of your patellar tendon. This connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone (tibia). Jumper’s knee weakens your tendon, and, if untreated, can lead to tears in your tendon.

What causes jumper’s knee?

Jumper’s knee is caused by overuse of your knee joint, such as frequent jumping on hard surfaces.

It’s usually a sports-related injury, linked to leg muscle contraction and the force of hitting the ground. This strains your tendon. With repeated stress, your tendon may become inflamed.

What are the symptoms of jumper's knee?

Following are the most common symptoms of jumper's knee. However, you may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and tenderness around your patellar tendon
  • Swelling
  • Pain with jumping, running, or walking
  • Pain when bending or straightening your leg
  • Tenderness behind the lower part of your kneecap

The symptoms of jumper's knee may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is jumper's knee diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your healthcare provider may use an X-ray to help diagnose jumper's knee.

How is jumper's knee treated?

The best treatment for jumper's knee is to stop any activity that’s causing the problem until the injury is healed. Other treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Rest
  • Elevating your knee
  • Ice packs to your knee to help reduce swelling
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

Key points about jumper's knee

  • Jumper’s knee is inflammation of your patellar tendon, the tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone (tibia).
  • Jumper’s knee is often a sports-related injury caused by overuse of your knee joint.
  • You may need an X-ray to help diagnose jumper’s knee.
  • The best treatment for jumper's knee is to stop any activity that’s causing the problem until the injury is healed.
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