Skip to Main Content
Make an Appointment

Physical Therapy for Patellar Tendonitis

Am I Candidate

Patellar tendonitis, often referred to as jumper’s knee, is a common ailment among athletes and active individuals. This condition can significantly impact one’s mobility and quality of life.

Fortunately, physical therapy offers a beacon of hope, providing effective strategies for managing and overcoming this challenge. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of physical therapy for patellar tendonitis, offering insights and actionable advice to help you bounce back stronger.

What Is Patellar Tendonitis?

Patellar tendonitis is a musculoskeletal disorder that affects the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia). This condition is characterized by inflammation and irritation of the tendon, and it’s particularly prevalent among athletes who engage in sports that involve a lot of jumping, such as basketball and volleyball.

For more information visit: Patellar Tendonitis: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Common Treatments for Patellar Tendonitis

It’s crucial to understand that treating patellar tendonitis involves more than just alleviating discomfort. The ultimate goal is to restore normal function and prevent future injuries. With the right guidance and perseverance, many individuals recuperate successfully.

Here are some of the most common treatments that could put you back on the path to recovery.

  • Rest and ice: Initial treatment often includes rest and the application of ice to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a critical component of treatment, focusing on exercises to strengthen and stretch the leg muscles.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Injection therapies such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP): These treatments involve injecting growth factors or anti-inflammatory agents into the tendon to promote healing.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, where conservative treatments haven’t been effective, surgery might be considered.

The Role of Physical Therapy Exercises

Physical therapy (PT) stands as a cornerstone in the treatment of patellar tendonitis. It offers a non-invasive, holistic approach that not only alleviates symptoms but also addresses the root causes of the condition.

While commonly associated with athletes, particularly those involved in jumping sports, patellar tendonitis can affect anyone. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and risk factors is crucial in devising an effective treatment plan.

A thorough diagnosis is the first step in any effective treatment plan. It involves a comprehensive assessment by a healthcare professional, including a physical examination and, potentially, imaging tests, to ensure a tailored and effective therapy approach.

For many years, Centeno-Schultz has been fortunate to work with our in-house PT specialist – Mark Riley. Learn more about Mark on this page.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy brings a multitude of benefits for individuals suffering from patellar tendonitis. By adopting a tailored treatment plan, patients can expect improvements in pain management, mobility, and overall functionality of the knee.

Here are some of the key benefits of physical therapy for patellar tendonitis:

Pain Reduction and Management:

  • Physical therapy techniques, including therapeutic exercises, stretching, and manual therapy, can significantly reduce pain associated with patellar tendonitis.
  • Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and cold or heat therapy may also be used to manage pain and inflammation.

Improved Strength and Muscle Balance:

  • Targeted exercises can strengthen the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings, which support the patellar tendon.
  • Strengthening these muscles helps to reduce the load on the patellar tendon and prevent future injuries.

Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion:

  • Tight muscles can exacerbate the jumper’s knee. Physical therapy focuses on improving flexibility, particularly in the muscles of the thigh and calf.
  • Enhanced flexibility and range of motion in the knee joint can lead to better knee function and reduced risk of re-injury.

Customized Rehabilitation Programs:

  • Physical therapists design individualized rehabilitation programs based on the specific needs and goals of each patient.
  • These tailored programs ensure a more effective recovery and a quicker return to sports or daily activities.

Education and Prevention Strategies:

  • Physical therapists provide valuable education on proper techniques and exercises to prevent the recurrence of patellar tendonitis.
  • They also advise on appropriate warm-up and cool-down routines, as well as ergonomic adjustments for athletes and active individuals.

Non-invasive Treatment:

  • Physical therapy offers a non-surgical approach to managing a jumper’s knee, which is particularly appealing for those seeking alternatives to invasive procedures.
  • This approach focuses on natural healing processes and functional recovery.

Enhanced Proprioception and Knee Stability:

  • Proprioceptive exercises included in physical therapy help improve the sense of knee joint position, which is crucial for balance and coordination.
  • Improved stability reduces the risk of awkward movements that could strain the patellar tendon.

Better Athletic Performance:

  • For athletes, physical therapy not only aids in recovery but also can enhance overall performance by improving strength, flexibility, and joint mechanics.
  • Athletes can learn how to optimize their movement patterns during sports, reducing the risk of future injuries.

Psychological Benefits:

  • Dealing with chronic pain can be mentally and emotionally draining. Physical therapy can provide psychological relief as the patient sees improvement in their condition.
  • The active involvement in the recovery process often boosts confidence and motivation.

Customized Return-to-Sport Strategies:

  • Physical therapists develop gradual return-to-sport strategies that safely reintegrate athletes into their sports.
  • These strategies are crucial for ensuring the knee is ready to handle the specific demands of the athlete’s sport.

By addressing the root causes of jumper’s knee and not just the symptoms, physical therapy offers a comprehensive approach to recovery, empowering patients to return to their active lifestyles with confidence and reduced risk of re-injury.

Patellar Tendonitis Physical Therapy Exercises

Physical therapy for patellar tendonitis is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A customized program, designed to meet your specific needs and goals, is essential for optimal recovery.

Exercises: The Building Blocks of Rehabilitation

Physical therapy exercises play a vital role in the treatment of patellar tendonitis. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the knee, improve flexibility, and reduce stress on the tendon.

The Importance of Stretching and Flexibility Training

Stretching and flexibility exercises are critical components of physical therapy for patellar tendonitis. These exercises should include mobilization and stretching of posterior and anterior chain muscle groups, such as hamstrings and quadriceps.

They help to alleviate tightness and improve the range of motion, which is essential for healing and preventing future injuries.

Incorporating Eccentric Strengthening into Your Routine

Eccentric exercises, which involve lengthening the muscle under tension, are particularly effective in treating patellar tendonitis. These exercises help in strengthening the tendon and improving its ability to handle stress.

Great examples of eccentric exercises are:

Single Leg Squats

Single leg squats help to build strength in the quadriceps and gluteus muscles, which support the patellar tendon. These exercises should be performed slowly and carefully, focusing on proper form and technique.


Step-ups also target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus muscles. They can be done with or without weights and are an effective way to improve strength and stability in the knee joint.

Leg Extensions

Leg extensions target the quadriceps muscles and can be performed using resistance bands or weight machines. These exercises help to strengthen the quadriceps, reducing strain on the patellar tendon.

Tips for Effective Rehabilitation

Not only can good physical therapy guide you in proper biomechanics, mobility, and strengthening, but they can also provide symptom relief using modalities, manual medicine, and taping.

The Power of Manual Therapy in Pain Management

Manual therapy techniques, such as massage and mobilization, play a significant role in managing pain and improving knee function. These techniques can help to decrease inflammation, increase circulation, and improve mobility.

Utilizing Modalities: Ice, Heat, and Ultrasound

Physical therapists often use modalities like ice, heat, and ultrasound to complement exercises and manual therapy. These modalities can help to reduce pain, decrease swelling, and promote healing.

The Role of Taping and Bracing in Supporting Recovery

Taping and bracing can provide additional support to the knee during the recovery process. These tools can help to reduce strain on the tendon, alleviate pain, and prevent further injury.

Seek Professional Assistance

To ensure that you are doing the kind of rehabilitation exercise that’s best and necessary for your recovery, you should seek expert advice (people who know exactly what to do and how often to do it).

Rest and Modify Activities

Recovery from patellar tendonitis requires patience and persistence. It’s important to follow your physical therapy regimen consistently and be mindful of your body’s signals to avoid setbacks.

Returning to Activity: a Gradual and Mindful Approach

Resuming normal activities after recovering from patellar tendonitis should be a gradual process. It’s crucial to listen to your body and progress at a pace that avoids re-injury.

Preventing Recurrence: Sustainable Practices for Long-Term Health

Prevention is key in managing patellar tendonitis. Adopting sustainable practices such as regular stretching, proper technique in sports, and wearing appropriate footwear can help keep the condition at bay.

Consistency and Patience

Dealing with patellar tendonitis can be emotionally challenging. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and seek support when needed.

The field of physical therapy is continuously evolving, with new techniques and technologies emerging to enhance the treatment of conditions like patellar tendonitis. The addition of adding in blood flow restriction to your eccentric exercises is a great example of some recent advancements in the therapy.

Precautions When Undergoing Rehabilitation

While physical therapy is generally safe and effective, there are some precautions to keep in mind when undergoing rehabilitation for patellar tendonitis. Here are some of them:

Communicate discomfort

Inform the therapist of discomfort during and after the treatment. Honest communication allows for proper adjustments to be made, and it also helps to ensure a safe and effective recovery process.

Pace Yourself

Don’t push yourself too hard, follow the recommended exercises, and gradually increase intensity as advised by your therapist.

Avoid Excessive Impact and Stress

High-impact activities, such as running and jumping, can put excessive stress on the patellar tendon. It’s crucial to avoid these activities until your therapist gives you the green light.

Follow Home Exercise Program

To achieve the best results, it’s essential to follow your therapist’s recommended home exercise program consistently. These exercises are specifically designed for your recovery and should not be skipped or modified without consulting your therapist.

Is Physical Therapy Enough?

If you are failing to see results with traditional PT, you may need some additional treatment to get you “over the hump!” Our experts can examine you and review your history as well as a detailed ultrasound evaluation to get a more precise diagnosis. This is key, as while you may have been diagnosed with jumper’s knee, it could be more serious than you think!

We have multiple treatment options for many issues such as high-grade injuries like partial tear of the tendon, instability in the knee causing the tendonitis, or even a sciatica mimicking jumper’s knee!

Get the Best Treatment for Your Patellar Tendonitis

Physical therapy offers a robust and effective pathway to overcoming patellar tendonitis. By understanding the condition, following a tailored therapy plan, and adopting preventive measures, you can regain your active lifestyle and keep the jumper’s knee at bay.

If you are failing to improve after proper therapy then give us a call. One of our experts will evaluate you and determine your candidacy for possible ortho-biologic treatment to assist in getting you back on the field or in court!

Get evaluated today. Book an appointment for in-office and telemedicine consultation to start your healing journey.

Empty Spacer

Christopher J. Centeno, MD

Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in Interventional Orthopedics and the clinical use of bone marrow concentrate in orthopedics. He is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a subspecialty of pain medicine through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Centeno is one of the few physicians in the world with extensive experience in the culture expansion of and clinical use of adult bone marrow concentrate to treat orthopedic injuries. His clinic incorporates a variety of revolutionary pain management techniques to bring its broad patient base relief and results. Dr. Centeno treats patients from all over the US who…

Read more

John Schultz, MD

John R. Schultz M.D. is a national expert and specialist in Interventional Orthopedics and the clinical use of bone marrow concentrate for orthopedic injuries. He is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and underwent fellowship training in both. Dr. Schultz has extensive experience with same day as well as culture expanded bone marrow concentrate and sees patients at the CSC Broomfield, Colorado Clinic, as well the Regenexx Clinic in Grand Cayman. Dr. Schultz emphasis is on the evaluation and treatment of thoracic and cervical disc, facet, nerve, and ligament injuries including the non-surgical treatment of Craniocervical instability (CCI). Dr. Schultz trained at George Washington School of…

Read more

John Pitts, M.D.

Dr. Pitts is originally from Chicago, IL but is a medical graduate of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. After Vanderbilt, he completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. The focus of PM&R is the restoration of function and quality of life. In residency, he gained much experience in musculoskeletal medicine, rehabilitation, spine, and sports medicine along with some regenerative medicine. He also gained significant experience in fluoroscopically guided spinal procedures and peripheral injections. However, Dr. Pitts wanted to broaden his skills and treatment options beyond the current typical standards of care.

Read more

Jason Markle, D.O.

Post-residency, Dr. Markle was selected to the Interventional Orthopedic Fellowship program at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic. During his fellowship, he gained significant experience in the new field of Interventional Orthopedics and regenerative medicine, honing his skills in advanced injection techniques into the spine and joints treating patients with autologous, bone marrow concentrate and platelet solutions. Dr. Markle then accepted a full-time attending physician position at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic, where he both treats patients and trains Interventional Orthopedics fellows. Dr. Markle is an active member of the Interventional Orthopedic Foundation and serves as a course instructor, where he trains physicians from around the world.

Read more

Brandon T. Money, D.O., M.S.

Dr. Money is an Indiana native who now proudly calls Colorado home. He attended medical school at Kansas City University and then returned to Indiana to complete a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency program at Indiana University, where he was trained on non-surgical methods to improve health and function as well as rehabilitative care following trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, etc. Dr. Money has been following the ideology behind Centeno-Schultz Clinic and Regenexx since he was in medical school, as he believed there had to be a better way to care for patients than the status quo. The human body has incredible healing capabilities…

Read more

Am I a Candidate?

To answer this question, fill out the candidate form below to request a new patient evaluation, and a patient advocate will reach out to you to determine your next steps. Your one-hour, in-office or telemedicine evaluation will be with one of the world’s experts in the field of Interventional Orthopedics.

Insurance may cover office visits, consultations, diagnostic testing, examinations and bracing. However, most insurance does not currently cover Regenexx Procedures at this time.