Patellar Tendinopathy

If your knee pain is stopping you lead a full and active life, then minimally invasive regenerative treatments could help you enjoy your life the way you want to.

Patellar tendinopathy is also referred to as patellar tendonitis or more commonly jumpers’ knee as it often affects people who play sports which involve jumping such as basketball, netball or volleyball. 

Patellar tendinopathy causes pain and inflammation at the front of the knee which can make it difficult for people to play sports and if left untreated everyday activities like walking or climbing stairs become very painful. 

What treatments does the Regenerative Clinic offer?

Our renowned medical team provides a range of treatments, from the traditional to the innovative:

This day case treatment is exclusively offered to our patients. It combines the benefits of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy with Lipogems®, a pioneering procedure that uses your body’s own adipose (fat) cells to treat pain and inflammation. AMPP injections are minimally invasive and are carried out under ultrasound guidance. Altogether the procedure takes about an hour to perform with a minimal recovery time of around three hours. As well as being a potential alternative to surgery, AMPP can also aid post-surgery recovery. 

Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) is a non-surgical, minimally invasive, regenerative treatment that harnesses the natural ability to heal the body through the assistance of biological growth factors. BMAC utilises the regenerative stem cells collected from bone marrow to aid in the acceleration of healing moderate to severe osteoarthritis and tendon injuries. Read more here.

This is an effective and well-researched procedure that’s a potential alternative to surgery. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to reduce pain and improve joint function. It uses a specially concentrated dosage of platelets prepared from your own blood to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. Treatment is administered via an injection and depending on the injury two to six injections may be required, performed at weekly intervals. Patients usually see their symptoms improve within four to six weeks of having the injections. PRP is a safe treatment option which, because your own blood is used, carries no risk of allergic reaction. Read more clinical evidence supporting PRP here.

What causes patellar tendinopathy?

Patellar tendinopathy is an overuse injury that results in pain at the front of the knee around the tip of the kneecap and patellar tendon which works with the muscle located in the front of the thigh to extend the knee. 

While it is commonly found in people who play sports that involve jumping it can also occur in people who don’t partake in jumping sports as it can also be caused by overtraining, poor technique and playing sports on hard surfaces. 

It may also be found in people who have a muscle imbalance. This is where one muscle is stronger than the others and it pulls on the patellar tendon causing tendonitis. It can also be caused by a chronic illness such as kidney failure or an autoimmune disease which restricts the blood flow to the knee resulting in the tendon becoming weak. 

What are the symptoms of patellar tendinopathy?

Jumpers knee or patellar tendinopathy causes inflammation and degeneration in the patellar tendon, causing acute pain. The patellar tendon can undergo degeneration, causing chronic patellar tendinopathy and in some cases, the tendon may tear (rupture). 

How is patellar tendinopathy diagnosed?

If you are experiencing pain at the front of your knee at the start of exercise or after a strenuous workout, a doctor will examine your knee applying pressure to different areas to see where it hurts. In some cases, the doctor may refer you to have an: 

  • X-ray – to see if there any other bone problems which could be causing the pain
  • MRI – using a magnetic field and radio waves a detailed image of the knee is created which can reveal subtle changes in the patellar tendon
  • Ultrasound – sound waves are used to create an image of your knee which can reveal any tears in the patellar tendon

What are the non-surgical options for patellar tendinopathy?

Treatment for patellar tendinopathy aims to relieve symptoms and improve the function of the knee. 

Initial treatment may include medications such as analgesics which help reduce the pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDS – which reduce the pain and inflammation and steroid injections which reduce inflammation and provide short-term relief.

Lifestyle modifications, such as restricting the amount of exercise you do and getting plenty of rest can help in the treatment of patellar tendinopathy. You may still be able to exercise but your doctor may suggest some alternative exercises such as swimming or cycling which puts less strain on the patellar tendon. 

Applying ice to the knee for 15-20 minutes 3 or 4 times a day can help relieve the pain, particularly after exercise. If you do this, it’s important to place a cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent you getting an ice-burn. 

A range of physiotherapy techniques can help with patellar tendinopathy. These include: 

  • Stretching exercises – regularly stretching the muscle can help reduce spasms and strengthen the muscle-tendon unit
  • Strengthening exercises – which strengthen the thigh muscles can be used in the treatment of patellar tendinopathy
  • Wearing a patellar tendon strap – this is a strap which applies pressure to the patellar tendon, and which moves any force away from the tendon putting it through the strap instead

Our expert team specialises in treating patellar tendinopathy using advanced non-surgical techniques including stem cell therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, Monocytes Therapy and AMPP® Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (using Lipogems® technology).

What are the surgical options for patellar tendinopathy?

Surgery is rarely recommended as a treatment for patellar tendinopathy, but it may be an option if your symptoms don’t improve with other non-surgical treatments or if your tendon tears. If this happens surgery will be performed to repair the tear and it is carried out by an arthroscopy which involves a very fine telescope (arthroscope) and surgical instruments being inserted through small cuts in the knee to perform the procedure. 

While the surgery is a routine procedure, it will involve a period of rehabilitation afterward.

Why have a consultation at the Regenerative Clinic?

As well as providing a full opinion on your condition that includes all the traditional non-surgical and surgical options, our experienced consultants will also assess your suitability for our alternative biological therapies, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Monocytes Therapy and Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (AMPP).

Who will my consultation be with?

Our expert team comprises of highly experienced surgeons, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who are committed to delivering a high level of care and the correct treatment option so you can quickly get back to moving around.

What is the autologus biological approach and when should it be considered?

Autologous means ‘from the same person’ rather than from a donor. Essentially, your own cells are used to encourage healing. With this type of treatment, there’s a dramatic reduction in the risks of the rejection, infection or contamination that come with using material from someone else. The innovative therapies we offer are based on this idea. If you’ve found traditional treatments aren’t helping your pain, of if you’re looking for a possible alternative to surgery, then this approach is one to consider.

Clinical evidence

Biological treatments are pioneering procedures and we’re continuously monitoring and recording its effectiveness. Patients undertaking these treatments are asked to complete pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires. 

The information obtained from these questionnaires allows us to monitor your progress and it also contributes to our evidence-based database and other global studies on biological treatments. All information gathered is anonymised. 

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