Patella tendonitis is a common cause of knee pain in those who are active, nicknamed ‘jumper’s knee’ due to its higher prevalence in jumping sports.
Patella tendonitis describes the inflammation and irritation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). Our podiatrists see it more commonly in those aged between 14 - 40 years*, though it can affect anyone at any age - particularly those involved in jumping sports like basketball (one in three players), high-level volleyball (one in two players) and even rugby (one in ten players).
Sustaining this injury to the patellar tendon can be a devastating blow to social sports enthusiasts and athletes alike. Depending on the severity of the injury, those injured can lose weeks, months or years to the recovery process, at worst forcing an early retirement. This is why prompt treatment once you start developing knee pain is highly recommended.
Patella tendonitis feels like pain at the front of the shins that may have originally started as a dull ache, but has gradually been worsening over time. You may notice swelling, stiffness or weakness in the knee. As the injury worsens, your pain may linger during rest, and is generally aggravated by movements that bend your knee, alongside general physical activity.
Like any tendon in your body, your patella tendon can only take on so much load before damage occurs. Usually, you load the tendon with physical activities like running and jumping, after which the tendon is left at a reduced strength and load capacity until you have downtime to rest and recover, after which the patella tendon will return to its full functional capacity. Tendon damage occurs when you repeatedly overload the tendon, demanding more from it than it can handle, before it has a chance to recover. This causes tiny tears and damage to the tendon fibres, which result in the knee pain symptoms.
Factors that may contribute to overloading include:
If you’re experiencing patella knee pain, start by limiting movements and activities that bend your knee and aggravate your pain to help you get some temporary relief. You can also try:
Here at Matt Raden Podiatry, our trusted and experienced podiatrists listen to the concerns, goals and needs of our patients with patella knee pain, and utilise a range of evidence-based treatment methods to help you get the best outcome. Our goal is not only to make you comfortable now, but to understand the root of the problem so you can exercise and stay active without being held back by knee pain.
Every appointment starts with a comprehensive assessment to uncover the causes of your knee pain, which includes analysing your gait, testing for muscle imbalances, assessing joint stiffness or tightness, analysing your foot posture, and more. We’ll then create a tailored treatment plan based on the results. This may include:
If you’re experiencing patellar knee pain, our team is here to help - and to ensure you have the best experience doing so. We’re proud to go above and beyond for our patients, focusing not only on managing your pain and symptoms, but helping you get the best long-term outcomes.