How Patella Tendonitis Affects Adolescent Athletes, Treatment Options, and How to Prevent It

by | Nov 12, 2021

Patella Tendonitis is a common sports-related injury in adolescents. Studies show that up to 50% of high school and college athletes players suffer from this condition.

It is caused by repetitive stress on the patellar tendon, which is responsible for connecting the kneecap to the femur and vice versa. It can be exacerbated by genetic predisposition, overuse of the knee, and insufficient warm-up before physical activity.
Patellar Tendonitis can manifest itself in various ways: pain and tenderness on the front of the kneecap; small lumps on either side of the front of the knee; pain when kneeling or getting up from a seated position; difficulty straightening or fully bending the leg; and difficulty with hopping.

Adolescent athletes who have knee pain from overuse, or those who have had a previous injury, are most at risk for patella tendonitis. Patella Tendonitis can develop in any active young person who does repetitive jumping or running on hard surfaces, sports that require frequent changes of direction, or sports that involve kneeling.


What is Patella Tendonitis?


Patella Tendonitis is an acute and chronic condition. The pain of this condition is typically located where the patella tendon meets the lower part of the kneecap.

It occurs when the patella tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin bone becomes inflamed, swollen, and irritated. Patella tendonitis is also sometimes called “jumper’s knee” because basketball and volleyball players are at risk for this injury if they make repeated jumps without warming up.

The condition is very painful and there are various ways in which you can deal with it depending on its severity.


Current Treatment Options for Patella Tendonitis in Adolescent Athletes


Treatment options depend on the severity of the condition and the age of the athlete. The first thing a chiropractor will do is assess the patient’s risk level and perform a physical examination.

The most common treatment options for patellar tendonitis in adolescent athletes are cold laser therapy, rest, bracing, and exercise therapy. These treatments work to alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with many of the local adolescent athletes who suffer from this condition. Treatment has included cold laser therapy and lower back/pelvic adjustments leading to desired results and healing.

In general, an athlete with patella tendonitis should avoid any sports that put a lot of pressure on their knees for at least six weeks after diagnosis. In addition, they should start doing exercises that focus on strengthening muscles around their knees.

The athlete should consider using a knee brace during activity if they experience pain or persistent discomfort in the knee joint while returning to their sport following patellar tendonitis treatment and rehabilitation.


How to Prevent Patella Tendonitis from Occurring in the Future


Young athletes and their parents need to know the risk factors and prevention methods for patella tendonitis.

The following is a list of risk factors and prevention strategies to avoid this injury: 

  • Avoid running on hard surfaces such as concrete as these surfaces can aggravate the condition.
  • Strengthen hamstrings, hip muscles, and quadriceps by doing extension exercises such as leg lifts, leg raises and squats with weights.
  • Stretch hamstrings, hip muscles, and quadriceps by kneeling down on one knee with the other foot behind and slowly lowering towards the ground until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

Regular chiropractic care and specialized athletic training programs are widely embraced by professional athletes to prevent acute sports-related injuries and increase athletic performance.


At Dutchess Braincore Therapy and Wellness Center we are pleased to be able to offer our local community athletes a single location to receive both routine chiropractic care to maintain optimal musculoskeletal health as well as targeted Youth Athletic Training from our certified personal trainers to improve flexibility, mobility, and strength and endurance.

Proper prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries are integral to a healthy and long-term athletic career. 




Dr. William McKenna

Dr. William McKenna


Dr.William McKenna has been a Chiropractor for over 20 years in Westchester and Dutchess County, helping his patients to achieve greater health and live more active lifestyles. He is the founder of McKenna Family Chiropractic located in Pelham, NY, and Dutchess Braincore Therapy and Wellness Center located in Hopewell Junction, NY. He graduated from Life University in 1999 and has been advocating for better health, naturally, since. Dr. Will believes a smile is the first step in healing and building valued relationships with his patients. Book Appointment

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