Patellar Tendinopathy: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Patellar Tendinopathy Definition and Meaning

Patellar tendinopathy (or tendinitis) occurs when the patellar tendon — the tendon that connects the bottom of the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia) — becomes injured or inflamed, causing pain at the lower part of the kneecap. While patellar tendinopathy can affect anyone, it’s often referred to as “jumper's knee” because it’s a common injury among athletes who participate in sports that require a lot of jumping like volleyball, track and field, and basketball.

Patellar Tendinopathy Symptoms

The symptoms of patellar tendinopathy typically include pain in the knee, especially when jumping, running, or walking up and down stairs. The pain can range from mild to severe and often worsens with activity. Swelling and a feeling of tenderness when pressing just below the kneecap are also common.

Patellar Tendinopathy: A Hinge Health Perspective

Learning about conditions that cause pain can be alarming. We know from Hinge Health members and research studies that anatomical labels can backfire when it comes to your treatment and recovery. When people hear they may have a condition like patellar tendinopathy, it can cause feelings of panic, like you have something "wrong" that needs to be fixed. This way of thinking about pain is largely outdated.

For most common musculoskeletal conditions, regardless of what may or may not be contributing to pain in your tissues, the solution is often the same. Movement — through physical and exercise therapy — can help build strength, flexibility, and resilience to pain in and around the patellar tendon. 

Patellar Tendinopathy Treatment

Patellar tendinopathy can usually be managed with at-home care. Treatment varies based on the severity, but may include exercise and physical therapy as well as over-the-counter medication and cold or heat therapy.

How Physical Therapy Can Help With Patellar Tendinopathy

Physical therapy can play a key role in the management and treatment of patellar tendinopathy. A physical therapist (PT) can design a program tailored to your symptoms, focusing on strengthening and stretching your knee muscles and tendons and improving flexibility. This approach not only helps to alleviate symptoms but also aids in preventing reinjury. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Wittstein, J. R. & Wilkerson, R. (2021, September). Patellar Tendon Tear. OrthoInfo — American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 

  2. Rudavsky, A., & Cook, J. (2014). Physiotherapy management of patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee). Journal of Physiotherapy, 60(3), 122–129. doi:10.1016/j.jphys.2014.06.022

  3. Santana, J. A., Mabrouk, A., & Sherman, A. l. (2022). Jumpers Knee. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. 

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