The patella or knee cap is positioned to the front of the knee joint and moves as we bend and straighten our knee. The patella bone “floats” within the patella tendon which connects the quadriceps muscle group to the shin bone allowing for them to extend the knee on contraction.
The patellar tendon is prone to the development of patellar tendinopathy. Patellar tendinopathy is the more precise term for a condition which was once commonly referred to as patellar tendonitis. Patellar tendinopathy develops as a result of tendonosis, a process of degeneration within a tendon. It’s commonly seen in athletes and tends to have a high rate of recurrence. Athletes with a lot of jumping in their sports or those with frequent high speed changes in direction are the most likely sufferers. It also commonly develops where patients are in the habit of sitting curled up on their heels with their knees in a position of extreme knee flexion. The main complaint of patients is knee pain to the front of the knee, which can be pinpointed to a point usually just below the patella.
Patellar tendinopathy, once diagnosed, can be remedied with manual therapy, eccentric exercises and correction of predisposing underlying biomechanical issues.