Patellar tendinitis is usually the result of overuse and repeated stress of the patellar tendon. Under stress, the tendon will experience small tears that the body will begin to repair. However, inflammation and weakening can occur in the tendon as the tears multiply, leading to tendinitis.
Pain in the area of the kneecap and tendon is the primary symptom of patellar tendinitis. Symptoms usually intensify during physical activity, and can reduce mobility while completing daily activities. Pain can be so intense that it may be difficult to stand up from a seated position or use stairs.
Physicians will conduct a physical examination, applying pressure to the affected knee to detect patellar tendinitis. X-rays may be used to rule out additional problems in the knee that could cause pain. Ultrasounds and MRIs are also used to identify tears in the patellar tendon.
Rest, ice, over the counter pain relievers, and physical therapy are usually effective methods to treat patellar tendinitis. Knee bracing may also be recommended. Corticosteroid injections or surgery may be required in severe cases.