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What is patellar tendinitis?
Patellar tendinitis is also called jumper's knee and patellar tendinopathy. It is an inflammation of the patellar tendon, which runs from the bottom of the patella—or kneecap—to the top of the shinbone.
It is most often an overuse injury seen in athletes, especially those in sports involving jumping, but it can affect anyone. Strenuous physical activity without warming up first, or tightness and inflexibility in the muscles of the thighs, can put additional strain on the patellar tendon.
Symptoms include pain just below the kneecap. At first it may only appear during exercise, but later becomes chronic as the tendon becomes more damaged and inflamed. Eventually the pain interferes with normal movement.
See a primary care doctor, who may refer you to a specialist (orthopedist). It is important to get treatment, as the condition will not heal on its own and will only get worse through forced movement.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as ultrasound or X-ray.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Physical therapy to return flexibility to the tendon
- Sometimes corticosteroid injections