Patellar tendonitis, or jumper’s knee, occurs when the tendon connecting your kneecap to your shinbone becomes inflamed. This condition is common among athletes who require frequent jumping, such as in basketball and volleyball. The primary symptom is pain at the front of the knee, which can range from a dull ache to sharp pain, particularly during physical activities involving running or jumping. Understanding the available treatment options is important for effectively managing symptoms, restoring knee function, and improving quality of life.

Treatment Options

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatments are available to repair damaged tendon tissue, ease pain, and restore knee function. This includes:

Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery involves creating small incisions and inserting a camera to guide surgical tools in repairing the damaged tendon. This minimally invasive procedure removes damaged tissue and promotes healing with minimal disruption to surrounding structures.

Open Surgery

Open surgery might be necessary for more severe cases of patellar tendonitis. This procedure involves making a larger incision to directly access and fix the tendon. Open surgery allows the orthopaedic surgeon to remove damaged tissue and speed up recovery more extensively than arthroscopic surgery. Open surgery for patellar tendonitis typically involves:

  • Tendon Debridement: Removal of damaged tissue to promote healing. This process involves cleaning out the damaged portion of the tendon to allow healthy tissue to regenerate.
  • Tendon Repair or Reconstruction: Repairing or reconstructing the tendon to restore its normal function. This can involve stitching the torn tendon or using a graft to replace the damaged section. A tendon graft, usually taken from another part of the patient’s body or a donor, can replace the injured tendon, providing additional strength and support.
  • Patellar Realignment: Repositioning the kneecap to reduce stress on the tendon. The realignment procedure often includes adjusting the position of the patella and the surrounding structures to ensure a more natural movement and reduced strain on the tendon.

Knee Replacement Surgery

In severe cases, more comprehensive knee surgery may be required. Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, involves replacing the damaged surfaces of the knee joint with artificial components. This surgery offers effective pain relief, improved mobility, and correction of deformities, enabling patients to return to normal activities.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Lifestyle Modification

Taking a break from physical activities that cause pain helps your knee heal from patellar tendonitis. This approach prevents further damage and allows inflammation to decrease. Slowly resuming activities and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of physical activities ensures that the tendon can handle the stress without recurring issues.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Ice and heat therapy control pain and inflammation associated with patellar tendonitis. Applying ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day helps reduce swelling and numb the pain, particularly after activities. Heat therapy can be used before activities to increase blood flow and improve flexibility in the knee.


Medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are commonly used to ease pain and swelling in the knee. These medications prevent the production of substances in the body that cause inflammation and pain, providing symptom relief. They should be used cautiously and under the guidance of an orthopaedic surgeon due to potential side effects, especially with long-term use.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy involves exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee, improve flexibility, and reduce stress on the patellar tendon. The orthopaedic surgeon can design a customised exercise program for you.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections may provide relief from inflammation and discomfort in severe cases of patellar tendonitis. These injections deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly to the affected area. Due to the risk of weakening tendons, these injections are used only if other treatments don’t work.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection involves injecting a concentrated solution of the patient’s platelets into the affected tendon. It uses your blood to help heal the tendon by stimulating tissue regeneration.


Patellar tendonitis, or jumper’s knee, can significantly impact an athlete’s performance and quality of life. Understanding the available treatment options, from surgical to non-surgical methods, is important for effective management and recovery. By following a tailored treatment plan developed by an orthopaedic surgeon, people can alleviate symptoms and return to regular activities with improved knee function and reduced pain.