The patella tendon is the band of tissue that connects the patella (knee cap) to the shin bone. Patella tendonitis is an inflammation of this tendon that causes pain. In most cases it occurs in jumpers or in those doing repetitive activities such as running and cycling. In these activities stress is applied to the tendon leading to inflammation. Patella tendonitis also often occurs in those with misaligned hip, knees, legs or foot position. This can include widened hips, knocked knees and feet that flatten (over pronation) when running.
Symptoms of Patella Tendonitis
• Tenderness and pain over the patella tendon
• Swelling of the knee joint or where the tendon attaches to the patella
• Tenderness behind the knee cap
• Pain when running, jumping or cycling
• Pain when bending or straightening the knee
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and treat this condition. Initially treatment would involve rest from any aggravating activities and reduction of inflammation and pain. Your therapist may at this time use electrotherapeutic modalities, ice and massage. Taping may also be used to help to take load of the patella tendon. Your therapist would also look at any other predisposing factors (e.g. over pronated feet, muscle weakness, muscle tightness) and treat them as appropriate. Your therapist will also be able to help in guiding you in your return to sport.