Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is an injury (inflammation) to the tendon which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of the thigh to extend the knee so people can kick, run and jump.

Patellar tendinitis is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping, such as basketball and volleyball. However, even people who don’t participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendinitis.

For most people, treatment of patellar tendinitis begins with physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee. Corticosteroid injections to treat patellar tendonitis are typically avoided in or around the infrapatellar tendon. Injections around this articular tendon have been linked to increased tendon weakness and increased likelihood of tendon rupture.

Symptoms

The major symptoms of a patellar tendonitis include:

  • Severe pain just below the patella
  • Pain that worsens when rising from a deep squat position
  • Tenderness in the area of the tendon attachment below the kneecap
  • Swelling in and around the patellar tendon