The patella tendon is typically injured at its proximal part on the deep surface. It is usually an overload injury in sports that involve jumping or high impact. Causes include poor core control, adverse biomechanics and movement patterns, extra body weight, poor conditioning, and excessive loading.
Clinical evaluation and diagnostic imaging allows the severity of the injury to be determined and this in turn strongly influences the interventions chosen. Diagnostic ultrasound is particularly important. MRI can also be helpful in examining the surrounding anatomy further.
Rehabilitation always is indicated, but must be customized to the individual and their initial responses to specific types of loading.
Other interventions may be indicated, including medications shock wave therapy and injections.
Osgood Schlatters ‘disease’ is a different type of injury to the patella tendon, occurring in children and adolescents. It is a problem at the distal end of the tendon as it attaches at the bone. It is actually an apophysitis, which means it is an injury of the bone rather than principally of the tendon.
A similar injury in this age group at the top of the tendon where it attaches to the knee cap can also occur. Rehabilitation and relative rest are important.