Patella Tendonopathy, also known as Jumper's Knee, is an overuse syndrome that leads to degeneration of the patella tendon. The patella lies inside the tendon of the quadriceps muscle which is the muscle on the front of the thigh, and connects to the tibia or the shin bone. It's primary action is to straighten the leg. The quadriceps muscle actively straightens the knee in jumping to help propel you off the ground. Subsequently, individuals who regularly perform sports that involve repetitive jumping and changing direction movements will cause repeated strain and trauma to the patella tendon.
The intital symptoms are pain and stiffness following exercise with palpable tenderness to touch around the patella.
There are four main stages of Jumper's Knee:
Pain immediately after training.
Pain before and after training that reduces with minor activity.
Pain during exercise.
Pain throughout the day during normal activities.
Patella Tedonitis is different to tendonopathy in that it is an accute condition and has not progressed to the stage where there is actual degeneration of the tendon. In most cases, if unheeded, tendonitis will lead to tedonopathy, because repeated strains of the muscle will lead to micro-tears of collagen fibres and subsequent degeneration of the tendon.