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Patellar Tendonitis – Overview

January 21, 2021


"Patellar tendonitis is inflammation involving the tendon, just beneath the patella. It is also called jumper's knee. A tendon is a tough, flexible structure made mostly out of collagen that allows muscles to act on our bones and joints. In this case, the patellar tendon is the structure that allows the quadriceps to forcefully extend the knee, propelling us upward while jumping or slowing us down while landing. The patellar tendon is especially at risk in those who sprint or jump. Tendonitis is an overuse or strain condition, which causes inflammation within and around the tendon. Patellar tendonitis symptoms typically include pain and swelling in the anterior or front part of the knee. The pain is usually worse with activity or use, especially jumping. A doctor or therapist can be consulted in any case of suspected patellar tendonitis, and a treatment plan could be initiated. Other causes of anterior knee pain, such as patellar fractures, patellofemoral pain, chondromalacia patella, and patellar dislocation or instability can also be ruled out. In most cases, patellar tendonitis is due to either acute or repetitive chronic injury, age, muscle tightness, chronic illness and involvement in jumping sports are known to be risk factors. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Neproxin, ibuprofen, Meloxicam, or diclofenac may be used in treating patellar tendonitis. These are often prescribed for a two to three week period to be taken every day so that they can over time work on gradually improving the inflammation. These medications can often be used for a few weeks to help combat the longstanding inflammation that is present there. Caution should be taken, especially in cases where the patient has a history of gastric ulcers or kidney disease as NSAID medications can affect these systems. Patients who are on a blood thinner also must be careful with these medications. Anybody with any potential NSAID problems should ask their own doctor prior to taking them. Patellar tendon bands or taping and physical therapy are also commonly used. Ice and rest can be helpful as well. Patellar tendonitis can be treated at home often successfully, though patients may benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist to demonstrate certain stretches or exercises that can be helpful. Thankfully, surgery is almost never needed for the treatment of patellar tendonitis since most cases resolve without it. Surgery is almost always reserved for cases in which there is a partial or complete tear in the patellar tendon. Surgery has a high success rate, but as with any procedure, there is a risk of complications."

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