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Orthopedics

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

What is jumper's knee?

Anatomy of the knee joint

Jumper's knee, also known as patellar tendonitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to shin bone (tibia). The condition may be caused by overuse of the knee joint, such as frequent jumping on hard surfaces.

What are the symptoms of jumper's knee?

The following are the most common symptoms of jumper's knee. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon

  • Swelling

  • Pain with jumping, running, or walking

  • Pain with bending or straightening the leg

  • Tenderness behind the lower portion of the kneecap

The symptoms of jumper's knee may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is jumper's knee diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for jumper's knee may include a radiograph of the knee to rule out a problem coming from the bones rather than the patellar tendon. This would involve a negative image of the knee, taken with photographic film, using exposure to X-rays or gamma rays passing through matter or tissue in the body.

Treatment for jumper's knee

Specific treatment for jumper's knee will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

The best course of treatment for jumper's knee is to discontinue any activity that is causing the condition, until the injury is healed. Other treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

  • Rest

  • Ice pack application (to reduce swelling)

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

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