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What Is Causing My Kneecap Pain?

Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery diagnoses kneecap pain.

Anyone can experience kneecap pain. 1 in 5 adults report issues with kneecap pain. The incidence of kneecap pain is higher in recreational and professional athletes and is more commonly seen in men than women. Patients want to know, "What is causing my kneecap pain?" A frequent kneecap pain diagnosis is patellar tendonitis or jumper's knee. Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurology's team of knee specialists provides advanced diagnostics and treatment of patellar tendonitis. Our team includes:

  • Dr. Richard Cunningham

  • Dr. Terrell Joseph

  • Dr. Max Seiter

  • Dr. Bill Sterett

What is Patellar Tendonitis / Jumper's Knee

Patellar tendonitis is inflammation and irritation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). Repetitive jumping and load demand common in basketball, volleyball, and running are often the cause. Kneeling is also a factor. The patellar tendon becomes irritated, causing pain, tenderness, and swelling below the kneecap. Pain worsens during activity, especially jumping and kneeling. A visible thickening of the tendon may appear. Rest can help alleviate symptoms. Chronic symptoms indicate the necessity for medical attention.

Diagnosis of Patellar Tendonitis / Jumper's Knee

The VSON team of knee specialists provides patients with advanced diagnostics to evaluate kneecap pain. A physical examination, including a thorough medical history, informs the diagnosis. The knee doctor will apply pressure to the patellar tendon and ask the patient to perform specific movements to assess the range of motion, pain location and level, flexibility, and muscle strength. Imaging studies, including X-ray and MRI, are evaluated to determine the causes of kneecap pain.

Treatment of Patellar Tendonitis / Jumper's Knee

Diagnostic findings will indicate the treatment plan. A conservative plan will include rest, pain, and inflammation medication, avoiding or modifying aggravating activities, ice therapy, compression, elevation, and physical therapy.

More advanced treatment is recommended for more severe cases or when the condition does not improve. The knee doctor and patient work together to determine the best treatment option. These treatments may include:

  • Regenerative medicine - including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections using the patient's own blood supply to promote regeneration and healing and prolotherapy injections to promote the body's native healing process.

  • Corticosteroid injections - this powerful group of anti-inflammatory medications can be injected into the damaged area, relieving severe pain and inflammation.

  • Extracorporeal sound wave therapy (ESWT) - a non-invasive procedure using high-energy sound waves to reduce pain and stimulate healing and blood flow to the patellar tendon and surrounding area.

  • Arthroscopic surgery - advanced minimally invasive surgical instruments are used to remove damaged tissue, treat structural issues, and reconstruct ligaments contributing to kneecap pain.

Doctors Who Treat Kneecap Pain

It is vital for patients experiencing kneecap pain, patellar tendonitis, and jumper's knee to seek expert orthopedic care.

Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurology's team of knee specialists provides the comprehensive care required for a return to knee wellness. Request a consultation with our team today!


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