Knee Pain? What To Do if It’s Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendon brace
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Feeling pain in your knees when you are exercising?

Jon Davis of Hartford HealthCare’s Sports Medicine team says that it could be due to patellar tendonitis. Patellar tendonitis, also known as Jumper’s or Kicker’s knee, is the inflammation of a tendon, generally due to overuse. Patellar tendonitis specifically is caused by repeated tension of the knee extensors (quadriceps).  As a result, inflammation may occur in the patellar or quadriceps tendons.  If you have repetitive forceful knee extension (from, for example, running or weightlifting), the knee may begin to appear swollen and could lead to tendon inflammation.

Signs and symptoms of patellar tendonitis include pain and tenderness below the knee cap, as well as swelling over the affected area. There are three stages of pain from patellar tendonitis:

  • Pain only after sports or activity.
  • Pain that occurs during and after activity, but does not inhibit performance.
  • Prolonged pain during and after activity that impairs athletic performance.

It’s important to seek treatment prior to the later stages of pain. The longer you wait to address the pain, the longer it will take to return to activity without pain.

The challenge in treating this injury is the ability to return to activity without symptoms returning. Many types of treatments for an athlete with patellar tendonitis may be effective in resolving symptoms: ice, heat (such as ultrasound or a heating pad) and stretching/strengthening.  A patellar tendon brace (also known as a chopat strap), as shown above, applied at the base of patella may also be beneficial.

The brace applies compression to the area, taking some tension off the tendon. This can alleviate some of the pain associated with patellar tendonitis. If your symptoms become prolonged or worsen, you should consult a physician for alternative interventions, such as medication or physical therapy.

For more information about the treatments Hartford HealthCare offers for athletes of all skill levels, please visit Mysportshealth.org 


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