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Patellar tendinopathy
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Patellar tendinopathy

Contributors: Robert Lachky MD, Sandeep Mannava MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Patellar tendinopathy (also known as patellar tendonitis, patellar tendinitis, patellar tendinosis, and jumper's knee) is not inflammatory and is instead a degenerative condition of the tendon with associated micro-tears. It presents as gradually increasing pain over the distal pole of the patella / patellar tendon. Pain can be of insidious onset after increasing exercise intensity or frequency; alternatively, pain can gradually increase in the course of days to weeks.

Repetitive knee motion that is typically forceful with eccentric load being placed upon the knee extensor, most often during jumping, can result in patellar tendonitis. In addition to micro-tears in the tendon, there is occasionally angiofibroblastic hyperplasia of the tendon or mucoid degeneration of the tendon in advanced cases.

The condition is thought to occur secondary to poor flexibility of the thigh musculature, specifically the hamstrings and the quadriceps. This condition occurs in about 20%-30% of jumping athletes (such as in volleyball and basketball), with a predilection for adolescents and young adults. Men have a higher incidence than women.

Symptoms of pain at the distal aspect of the patella and pain at the patellar tendon typically occur with an insidious onset after higher risk (eg, jumping) activities, but in later phases of the disease, pain can occur during activity or with prolonged knee flexion (sitting for long periods of time).

Codes

ICD10CM:
M76.50 – Patellar tendinitis, unspecified knee

SNOMEDCT:
37785001 – Patellar tendonitis

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Potential pitfall: ensure the patient can perform a straight leg raise; inability to perform this examination maneuver may indicate a tendon rupture that would require more urgent orthopedic surgical referral.

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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References

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Last Reviewed:08/26/2019
Last Updated:08/30/2021
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Patellar tendinopathy
Copyright © 2021 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.