Patellar Tendonitis (Runners Knee)

There are a number of syndromes that surround the knee, one of the most common presented is inflammation of the Patellar Tendon, that can manifest at the base of the Patellar on the medial, lateral and centre, and along the tendon to its insertion with the Tibia.

This condition occurs more often in sportspersons where repetition and overuse come into play. Long distance runners are particularly prone.

It manifests as pain during activity, that often clears after a while, or can get worse later on in the run.

Depending on the severity if inflammation, pain will occur after activity as well. The knee can hurt after on has been sitting for a while, often called ‘cinema sign’, as you get from sitting it hurts.

On examination there can be tenderness on any point of the Patellar Tendon, there may be mild swelling as well.

The condition has a number of potential causes. Excessive Pronation leading to internal rotation of the leg, may be one of the most common causes. As the leg rotates internally the patellar will be forced to track incorrectly, placing stress on the patellar tendon.

Muscle imbalances play a role as well. The nature of running dictates that the Calves and the Hamstrings will develop stronger than the Quadriceps (Quads) and the Anterior leg muscles. These imbalances can lead to stress on the patellar tendon as well.

Poor flexibility of Calves and Hamstrings can also be a cause.

Treatment involves a biomechanical assessment to determine foot function, insoles and orthotics to correct the foot function, appropriate footwear and stretching exercises.

Biokinetisists can deal with the muscle imbalances by identifying the correct strengthening programme. Physiotherapists can deal with the inflammation, the use of taping has shown to be useful in assisting the tracking of the patellar. Knee braces may assist as well