Like other types of tendonitis, patellar tendonitis is a painful inflammation of one of the body’s tendons; in this case, the tendon that connects the kneecap or patella to the shinbone or tibia. Read on for more about what causes it and how it’s treated.

Causes & Triggers

  • Overload
  • Overuse
  • Repetitive motion
  • Weak muscles (especially thigh)

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Sensation of “giving way”
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Weakness

Tips & Treatments

  • Common to athletes in a variety of sports, but especially those requiring jumping, such as basketball, gymnastics, and track and field.
  • Severity of injury is as follows:
    • Stage 1: Pain with activity, no performance impairment
    • Stage 2: Pain with and after activity
    • Stage 3: Persistent pain with and after activity, some performance impairment
    • Stage 4: Complete tear requiring surgical repair
  • Conservative treatment for early-stage patellar tendonitis includes RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation.