Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of the patellar tendon. The patellar tendon is the tendon that connects the knee cap (patellar) to the shin bone (tibia). This tendon is an extension of the quadriceps muscles and is most commonly injured due to overuse.

The tendon is stressed by activities such as jumping and sprinting which are both integral parts of basketball. Nicknamed "jumper's knee", patellar tendinitis is a painful and debilitating condition. The athlete may feel sharp pain during activity and an ache the rest of the day. If symptoms of patellar tendinitis persist, the athlete should be evaluated by a physician. Left untreated, the condition can become chronic and prevent the athlete from participating in activity.

Signs of patellar tendinitis:

  1. Pain where tendon meets knee cap (patella)
  2. Stiffness of knee
  3. Pain and stiffness with motion especially squatting and descending stairs
  4. "Cracking" noise with knee motion and squatting

Treatment of patellar tendinitis:

  • Ice 15 minutes
  • Stretch quadriceps and hamstrings pre-activity
  • Warm-up pre-activity
  • Rest: from jumping and sprinting activities as often as possible

Knee Pain Treatment Guide

When the pain is limiting your ability to perform normal daily activities. When pain interferes with your ability to do the things you love, it’s time to seek medical advice.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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