Health Information

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

What is jumper's knee?

Jumper's knee, also known as patellar tendonitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation of your patellar tendon.This connects your kneecap (patella) to your shin bone (tibia). Jumper’s knee weakens your tendon, and, if untreated, can lead to tears in your tendon.

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What causes jumper’s knee?

Jumper’s knee is caused by overuse of your knee joint, such as frequent jumping on hard surfaces.

It’s usually a sports-related injury, linked to leg muscle contraction and the force of hitting the ground. This strains your tendon. With repeated stress, your tendon may become inflamed.

What are the symptoms of jumper's knee?

Following are the most common symptoms of jumper's knee. However, you may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and tenderness around your patellar tendon
  • Swelling
  • Pain with jumping, running, or walking
  • Pain when bending or straightening your leg
  • Tenderness behind the lower part of your kneecap

The symptoms of jumper's knee may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is jumper's knee diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, your health care provider may use an X-ray to help diagnose jumper's knee.

 

How is jumper's knee treated?

The best treatment for jumper's knee is to stop any activity that’s causing the problem until the injury is healed. Other treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen)
  • Rest
  • Elevating your knee
  • Ice packs to your knee (to help reduce swelling)
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

Key points

  • Jumper’s knee is inflammation of your patellar tendon, the tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) to your shin bone (tibia).
  • Jumper’s knee is a sports-related injury caused by overuse of your knee joint.
  • Common signs of jumper’s knee include:
    • Pain and tenderness around your patellar tendon
    • Swelling
    • Pain with jumping, running, or walking
    • Pain when bending or straightening the leg
    • Tenderness behind the lower part of the kneecap
  • Jumper’s knee is diagnosed by taking a medical history and doing a physical exam. Sometimes an X-ray may be needed.
  • The best treatment for jumper's knee is to stop any activity that’s causing the problem until the injury is healed. Other treatment may include:
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
    • Rest
    • Elevating the knee
    • Ice packs to the knee (to help reduce swelling)
    • Stretching and strengthening exercises

 

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.