Patellar tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon that joins the kneecap to the lower leg bone.
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The problem is caused by overuse.
This problem is more common in teens and people under the age of 40. It is also more common in people who do things that involve jumping, such as volleyball and basketball.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
This problem causes pain below the kneecap. It often worse during physical activity and when flexing the knee.
The knee may also be swollen and stiff.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your knee. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be done to confirm the diagnosis. This can be done with:
The goal is to ease pain and improve movement. This may be done with:
Procedures or surgery may be done if other methods have not helped.
The risk of this problem may be lowered by slowly increasing the length and duration of activities.
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Patellar tendinopathy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/patellar-tendinopathy . Updated May 16, 2019. Accessed March 26, 2020.
Patellar tendon tear. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
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Updated February 2016. Accessed March 26, 2020.
Schwartz A, Watson JN, et al. Patellar Tendinopathy. Sports Health. 2015 Sep;7(5):415-420.
Last reviewed February 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Last Updated: 3/26/2020