There are two principle varieties of tendonitis around the knee: Patellar Tendonitis otherwise known as “jumper’s knee” and Iliotibial band tendonitis also known as “runner’s knee”. Both are treated similarly.
Patellar tendonitis is commonly referred to as “jumper’s knee” because of the propensity of athletes involved in jumping sports to develop the condition. Many cases develop suddenly after increasing activity while others develop slowly over time as a result of degenerative changes in the tendon. Most patients describe a sharp pain in the front of the knee with attempts to jump or run. Motion is preserved, but painful. Initial treatment includes activity modification, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. Refractory cases may warrant an MRI and occasionally surgery is required to repair the tendon.
Tendonitis can also occur over the lateral (outside) aspect of the knee and is commonly seen in runners. It is caused by irritation of the large tendon on the lateral side of the knee called the iliotibial band (ITB). The underlying cause is over use and improper footwear or running mechanics. It is generally treated with anti-inflammatory medication, orthotics and modification of the athlete’s schedule.