An Overview on Patellar Tendonitis
Patellar tendonitis, often referred to as jumper’s knee, is an overuse injury that causes pain at the front of the knee joint towards the bottom of the kneecap (patella). Patellar tendonitis is most commonly found in athletes involved in jumping sports, such as basketball and volleyball, because of constant use and repetitive stress to the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shinbone (tibia). Dr. Mark Getelman, orthopedic knee specialist serving the Van Nuys, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California communities, is available to treat patients affected by this condition and return them to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Patellar tendonitis is a common overuse injury found in the active population, no matter the playing level. The condition is caused by repetitive stress placed on the patellar tendon – the tendon connecting the patella to the tibia. The ongoing stress and overuse results in damage and tiny tears in the tendon structure often called patellar tendinopathy. When left untreated, the ongoing inflammation and micro-tearing cause pain.
Many athletes continue to engage in their athletic activity. If left untreated for an extended period of time, the condition can become more difficult to treat without surgical intervention.
Patellar Tendonitis Symptoms
The hallmark symptom of jumper’s knee is pain at the bottom front of the patella. Besides pain, patients may also experience swelling and localized tenderness in this area. The pain typically begins gradually with physical activity or after an intense workout. With time, the pain can interfere with simple sports activities and daily movements.
Patellar Tendonitis Diagnosis
Dr. Getelman will perform a physical examination to reach a patellar tendonitis diagnosis. During the examination, he will examine the knee joint to determine pain level and the exact location of tenderness. He will also perform a series of x-rays and an MRI scan in many cases to assess the extent of tendon damage and rule out other bone and other soft tissue injuries.