The patellar tendon is located just below the kneecap and runs from the patella down to the upper anterior surface of the tibia. The quadriceps muscle and the patellar tendon both work together to produce movement at the knee. During these movements, the patellar tendon transmits force from quadriceps muscle to the tibia. Unfortunately repetitive overuse of the patellar tendon causes microscopic tearing and inflammation within the tendon. This inflammation of the tendon is called patellar tendinitis or also known as jumpers knee. This injury is commonly caused by activities that involve jumping or sprinting. Athletes that alter their training by increasing the frequency, duration or changing training surfaces have been shown to be at a higher risk of developing this injury. The infrapatellar bursa also lies directly underneath the patellar tendon and may develop into bursitis by any injury to the patellar tendon or direct trauma to the front of the knee. Both of these conditions can be a result of poor lower limb biomechanics which causes increase strain on the anterior knee, which gradually causes degeneration of the tendon.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Anterior knee pain felt under the kneecap.
- Pain often aggravated by activities such as jumping and hopping.
- Initially pain/ stiffness comes on after activity but as the injury gets worse, it commonly comes on earlier during activity and takes longer to recover.
- After activity, swelling may be present under the kneecap.