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If you suffer from flat feet, knock-knees or wide hips, you are at special risk for developing patellar tendonitis.

Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper's knee, is the development of inflammation at the patellar tendon, which connects the patella (knee cap) to the tibia (shin bone). This tendon transmits the force created by the quadriceps muscle, on the front of the thigh, to the lower leg, and allows straightening of the knee.

Causes
Patellar tendonitis typically develops with activities that require repetitive jumping. Other repetitive activities, like running, stair-climbing or skiing can also lead to patellar tendonitis. Repeated activities that place stress on the tendon may also cause inflammation and pain. Other structural abnormalities, such as stiffness of the quadriceps muscle, flat feet, knock-knees and wide hips can also predispose patients to patellar tendonitis.

Symptoms
The patient will often complain of pain at the patellar tendon (below the knee cap), especially with activities such as jumping, running or stair- climbing.

Diagnosis
Your doctor can detect patellar tendonitis by examining your knee and learning more about the history of the injury. X-rays cannot be used to detect patellar tendonitis, but are often used to identify other problems and injuries to the bones about the knee. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination may be used to view the patellar tendon as well as other knee structures.

Treatment

  • Rest . All activities that contribute to pain in the region of the inflamed tendon should be restricted. Talk with your doctor about a plan for gradually returning to full activity.
  • Ice . Ice packs may be used for about 20 minutes at a time, each hour to help alleviate pain and decrease swelling.
  • Bandage/Compression Wraps . Your doctor may recommend that you use a soft elastic wrap or bandage at the knee to help reduce swelling.
  • Elevation . Elevating the knee should help ease pain and swelling. Ideally, the foot should be elevated higher than the knee, and the knee should be elevated higher than the hip.
  • Medication . Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Knee Brace . Your doctor may prescribe a knee brace or patellar tendon strap to help stabilize the joint and decrease pain.
  • Physical Therapy . Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a range of motion and muscle stretching and strengthening program for your knee after the initial discomfort of the tendonitis has subsided.

Recovery Outlook
Length of recovery will vary, depending on the severity of the tendonitis and the duration of the symptoms. Before returning to full activity, you should be able to run and jump with no pain.

Prevention
Typically, patellar tendonitis is an injury caused by overuse. However, flexible and strong quadriceps can help to prevent problems in this area.