Conditions & Treatments

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is a condition caused by inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin bone, often caused by overuse of the knee joint.

Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee)

What is jumper's knee?

Anatomy of the knee joint
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Jumper's knee, also known as patellar tendonitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to shin bone (tibia). The condition may be caused by overuse of the knee joint, such as frequent jumping on hard surfaces.

What are the symptoms of jumper's knee?

The following are the most common symptoms of jumper's knee. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon

  • Swelling

  • Pain with jumping, running, or walking

  • Pain with bending or straightening the leg

  • Tenderness behind the lower portion of the kneecap

The symptoms of jumper's knee may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is jumper's knee diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for jumper's knee may include a radiograph of the knee to rule out a problem coming from the bones rather than the patellar tendon. This would involve a negative image of the knee, taken with photographic film, using exposure to X-rays or gamma rays passing through matter or tissue in the body.

Treatment for jumper's knee

Specific treatment for jumper's knee will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

The best course of treatment for jumper's knee is to discontinue any activity that is causing the condition, until the injury is healed. Other treatment may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

  • Rest

  • Ice pack application (to reduce swelling)

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

Treatment Programs


Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

Select a treatment program for more information:



Imaging

  • Pediatric Imaging
    The Pediatric Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging specializes in ensuring the safety and comfort of child patients while providing the latest technology and the expertise of specialized pediatric radiologists.
  • Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention
    The Bone and Joint Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers state-of-the-art diagnostic exams including MRI and CT, interpretation by specialty-trained radiologists, and image-guided procedures for the bones, joints, and spine.
MassGeneral Hospital for Children

  • Pediatric Orthopaedics
    The MassGeneral Hospital for Children Orthopaedics Service provides clinical care to infants, children and adolescents, from birth to college age, for the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal problems.
Department of Orthopaedics

  • Sports Medicine Service
    Our Boston Sports Medicine team provides comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation for sports-related injuries from recreational, amateur and professional sports. Our Harvard faculty specialize in ACL, MCL and meniscus injuries in athletes and non-athletes.

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