Patella Tendonopathy

Patella Tendon Tendinopathy: (Jumpers knee) 

  • The patella tendon is located at the anterior knee, connecting the Quadriceps to the Tibia via the Patella. 
  • This is a common overuse injury in activities with high running loads, jumping  and kicking 
  • There can often be multiple contributing factors driving the development and persistence of symptoms 
  • With the effect of age, tendonitis ( an acute inflammatory disorder) can develop to a tendinopathy ( degenerative condition within the tendon)


patella tendon

Sagittal proton density MRI of the knee (TR = 5067 milliseconds, TE = 25 milliseconds), 29-year-old male professional basketball player. Image shows thickening of the patellar tendon and intermediate signal intensity within the tendon indicative of patellar tendinitis.


Subjective Examination:

  • Insidious onset, usually related to increased load usually felt distal to the patella, 
  • With tendinopathy in the mid portion of the patella tendon.
  • Tendinitis located at the distal tip of the patella. 
  • Osgood-Schlatters at the tibia tubercle, distal tendon attachment. 
  • Pain presents at the start of activity, following activity and is often accompanied by stiffness 
  • It is important to establish the patients full training history where possible

Objective Examination:

  • Localised to the anterior knee, at the mid portion of the patella tendon
  • There may be pain on passive stretching 
  • Pain on palpation of patella tendon 
  • Pain on resisted knee extension 
  • Weakness within the quadriceps is also common

Early signs to look out for:

  • Localised patella tendon pain
  • Tightness/stiffness during or after activity with little relief from stretching 
  • Pain on jumping, landing, running  and going  downstairs


If you feel that your patient is suffering with a Patella Tendonopathy, please refer to a physiotherapy and we can work with the patient to get them back to sport through:

  • Identifying and reducing contributing factors.
  • Pain free exercises.
  • Improving knee stability, muscle length and strength.
  • Progressing to return to play level.



  • Image from OpenI – Licensed by CC

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