Patellar tendinitis, also known as “jumper’s knee,” is an inflammation of the patellar tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. This tendon helps in extension of the lower leg. Patellar tendinitis usually results from repetitive trauma or overuse, particularly from sports activities involving jumping such as basketball or volleyball. Therefore, this condition is also known as jumper’s knee. Rarely, this condition may also occur because of an acute injury to the tendon that has not healed properly. Pain over the patellar tendon is the first symptom of patellar tendinitis. You may also have pain during activities, especially jumping or kneeling. Rarely, swelling around the tendon may be seen.
Your doctor will evaluate your condition based on your symptoms and physical examination. X-ray of the knee may be taken to make sure there is no problem involving the bones or bone spurs around the knee. An MRI scan can reveal degenerative changes in the patellar tendon.
Nonsurgical treatment options for patellar tendinitis include: rest and activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, ice, bracing, and injections. Research has shown that platelet-rich plasma injections may be a viable treatment options for patellar tendonitis. In a PRP injection, blood containing a high platelet concentration is drawn from the patient and injected into the affected joint. The PRP stimulates healing and reduces pain and stiffness. Insurance may not cover PRP.
In rare cases such as when there is persistent pain, despite the other treatment options, surgery may be considered. Surgery involves removal of severely damaged parts of your tendon and repair of any tears in the tendon.