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Patellar Tendonitis

Dr. Renny Uppal, MD

Dr. Uppal is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and is one of a few physicians in Nevada who has earned his Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine from The American Board of Medical Specialties. He is also an active member of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine.

What is Patellar Tendonitis? 

Patellar tendonitis, also referred to as “jumper’s knee” causes pain just below the kneecap. It is usually caused by inflammation and degeneration of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Sometimes it is caused by a specific injury, but more commonly it is related to repeated minor injuries over time. These types of injuries are called overuse injuries. Athletes that participate in jumping sports like basketball and volleyball often suffer from this problem.

Symptoms of Patellar Tendonitis

  • Tenderness located directly over the involved tendon at the bottom of the kneecap
  • Pain worsens at the start of an activity, improves during, and then returns after cooling down
  • Pain when jumping, running, or walking
  • Swelling at the bottom of the knee
  • Pain in common movements such as rising from a sitting position or climbing stairs
  • The pain is not always severe and often athletes can continue to play with symptoms, however, the pain and decreased performance will not improve without treatment
  • Rarely patella tendonitis can precede a patella tendon rupture which is severe and requires surgery

Treatment for Patella Tendonitis

  • Icing
  • Rest 
  • Activity modifications
  • Ultrasound
  • Iontophoresis
  • Blood flow restriction
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections
  • Physical therapy at the Reno Orthopedic Center

Physical therapy for instruction in stretching and strengthening exercises is beneficial. Various therapy modalities such as ultrasound and iontophoresis treatments directly over the painful area help decrease pain and inflammation. Newer techniques like blood flow restriction and platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP) can help accelerate recovery. Steroid injections are NOT recommended, because they can increase the risk of tendon rupture. Icing directly after activity will also help decrease symptoms. Relative rest and activity modifications are often the best treatment. You must try to avoid activities that cause pain while staying active with less stressful (and painful) exercise to maintain fitness. Treatment for patella tenonitis can take several months to be successful.

Surgery for Patellar Tendonitis

Surgery for patella tendonitis is rarely needed. Patients would need to fail at least 6 months of treatment and have severe symptoms. If surgery is indicated, your surgeon removes the bad tissue and stimulates a healing response by drilling small holes into the patella. Unfortunately, recovery from surgery can take up to 6 months.

Services the Reno Orthopedic Center Offers

To help with Patellar Tendonitis you can visit the Reno Orthopedic Center. Physical therapy is offered at each ROC location that can help to reduce or even eliminate pain. In the case that the injury is too severe, surgery can be performed at the ROC. These services are offered in Reno, Sparks, Galena, North Valley’s, and Carson.