Patellar tendinitis (English Edition)




Patellar tendinitis (English Edition)


Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon that attaches the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shin bone). The most common tendinitis of the knee is irritation of the patellar tendon. Commonly called jumper knee. This condition is commonly seen in people who play basketball, volleyball, distance running, long jumping, mountain climbing, figure skating, tennis, or high-impact aerobics. In many cases, you will notice a sudden onset of aching and pain in the area just below the kneecap after sports or recreational activities. You may notice pain when landing from a jump or when going up and down stairs. There is sometimes pain at rest, particularly after sitting with the knees bent for some time. Swelling in the area just below the kneecap is common, as well as a feeling of weakness at the knee when pain is felt.

The patellar tendon becomes inflamed and tender due to overuse. Overuse injuries of the patellar tendon occur when you repeat a particular activity (usually running, jumping, or high-impact) until there is a micro-failure of the tissue that makes up the substance of the tendon. Swelling, inflammation, and pain follow. In the early (acute) stage of patellar tendinitis, the pain and inflammation subside with rest. There may be pain at the beginning of the activity, but this pain often disappears after a period of warm-up and then re-appears after the completion of the activity.

If you continue with your activity in the presence of pain, you initially can continue to exercise or perform at a normal level. However, if you continue to exercise and don’t rest, the pain will become more persistent and will be present before, during, and after the activity. At this stage, you can do permanent damage to the tendon if you continue your activity and it will take a long time to heal.

Anatomy of Patellar Tendonitis

The patellar tendon attaches the bottom of the kneecap (patella) to the top of the shinbone (tibia). When a structure connects one bone to another, it is a ligament, so the patellar tendon is sometimes called the patellar ligament.

The patella is attached to the quadriceps muscles by the quadriceps tendon. Working together, the quadriceps muscles, quadriceps tendon, and patellar tendon enable you to straighten your knee.

Types of Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee or patellar tendinopathy, can be classified into different types based on the severity and stage of the condition. The types of patellar tendonitis include:

Acute Patellar Tendonitis: This type refers to the early stage of the condition and is characterized by inflammation and pain in the patellar tendon. It typically occurs due to sudden or excessive stress on the tendon, such as a sudden increase in activity level or a traumatic event.

Chronic Patellar Tendonitis: Chronic patellar tendonitis refers to a long-standing and persistent condition. It is often the result of repetitive stress and overuse of the patellar tendon, leading to degenerative changes and structural abnormalities within the tendon. Individuals with chronic patellar tendonitis may experience ongoing pain, swelling, and functional limitations.

Patellar Tendinosis: Tendinosis is a term used to describe a degenerative condition of the tendon. In patellar tendinosis, the collagen fibers within the patellar tendon undergo structural changes and degeneration, leading to a loss of tendon strength and integrity. This type is often seen in chronic cases of patellar tendonitis.

Patellar Tendon Rupture: In severe cases, the patellar tendon may completely rupture, resulting in a loss of continuity between the patella and the shinbone. Patellar tendon rupture is a less common but significant complication of patellar tendonitis. It usually occurs due to a sudden force or trauma applied to the knee and may require surgical intervention for repair.

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