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Patellar Tendonitis


The patellar tendon runs from the kneecap (patella) to the front of the shinbone (tibia). When the thigh muscles (quadriceps) contract, the knee extends, or straightens, by way of the patellar tendon. Overuse may lead to inflammation of the tendon.


Common Causes

Frequent kneeling, squatting, climbing or jumping (frequently seen in basketball players).



Pain in the front of the knee, just below the kneecap. The pain is worsened by kneeling or squatting.


Physical Findings

Tenderness along the patellar tendon, usually near the attachment of the kneecap. Swelling, or thickening of the tendon may be present.



Diagnosis is made by history and physical examination. X-rays are frequently obtained to make sure there is no other injury.


Non-operative Treatment

Rest, avoidance of aggravating activities, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy are the mainstays of non-operative care.


Surgical Treatment

Debridement of the damaged tissue. Rarely indicated.


Injury Comment

Non-operative care is generally successful.