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Patellar Tendinitis or Tendon Tears

 What is patellar tendinitis?

The patellar tendon is a very strong tendon and resistant to injury.

– Frequent running or jumping however, can cause a weakening of the tendon via overuse tendinitis.
– For this reason it is also known as “Jumper’s Knee”.

What are the symptoms of patellar tendinitis?

Symptoms of patellar tendinitis include:

– Pain usually between the kneecap and where the tendon attaches to the shinbone
– Pain that is worse climbing stairs or getting out of a chair 
– Pain that may be triggered by running or jumping injuries
– Kneeling or getting up from a squat may be painful
– Tight thigh muscles or hamstrings can increase patellar strain and can be a telltale sign of patella issues
– High intensity jumping sports like volleyball are associated with this injury

How is patellar tendinitis diagnosed?

X-ray and MRI scans will confirm degeneration and tearing or even a rupture of the patellar tendon, which is best treated by surgical repair.

What is the treatment of patellar tendinitis?

Treatment for patellar tendinitis includes:
– Stretching exercises and physical therapy
– A patellar tendon strap to help relieve pain
– Iontophoresis – where corticosteroid medicine is applied to skin and a device delivers a low electrical charge through the skin
– Corticosteroid injections via ultrasound (though eventually these can weaken the tendons, making them more likely to tear)
– PRP – Using the body’s own platelets, extracted from blood. These are then spun through a centrifuge and injected into the knee.
– Surgery is rare for this condition unless there is a tear of the patellar. Most tendon re-attachments are done as inpatient procedures
– Post-surgery, a combination of knee immobiliser, crutches or walker may be used to prevent you from placing too much weight on the repaired knee.
– Most tendinitis treated early with physiotherapy can avoid surgery.
– Cryotherapy or ice can assist with pain
– Avoid activity that caused the pain until the pain stops, as working through the pain can cause more damage.