Expert advice about Knee Pain: Patella Tendinopathy or ‘Runners Knee’

Leroy McKechnie, Physiotherapist explains anterior knee pain in his expertly simple terms.

Patella Tendinopathy or Runners Knee

“I want to briefly discuss one of my areas of interest and a condition that many of you are all too familiar with – Patella Tendinopathy or ‘Runner’s Knee’.

This is a condition that results from overuse (chronic or acute) of the patella tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shin (tibia). Commonly, this is through activities such as running or jumping.


Many people will first notice pain at the front of the knee over the patella tendon, this can either get worse over time or be aggravated by a sudden activity. The common symptom’s people will complain of will be pain or stiffness first thing in the morning, gradual onset of pain over time with activity and a decrease in pain once the knee ‘warms up’. Unfortunately, often due to the slow onset of the condition it is frequently ignored until it has been present for months at a time, making the condition more difficult to treat.

The Good News

The good news is patella tendinopathy can be prevented when training with sensible monitoring of training load and easing into new activities. We know this because all tendinopathies whether they occur in the shoulder, knee or Achilles are caused by an increase in load that the tendon is not adapted to cope with. This load is different for everybody and depends on the level of activity the tendon is used to. Too much of an increase in load too quickly and the tendon will become damaged.


If you do find yourself with a patella tendinopathy, as I know I have, the best way to deal with the injury while it’s acute is to address the pain and swelling around the patella. This is done with a combination of rest, ice and elevation of the knee. Avoid strenuous activities such as running and jumping, although, recent evidence has shown that low level activities like walking have be shown to aid the recovery process.

Seeking help from a Physiotherapist is important as it will not get better on its own unless you have the cause of the injury addressed. A physiotherapist is skilled at examining the external factors that could be contributing to your injury, such as: ankle/foot biomechanics, poor control around the knee or muscle length issues. Physiotherapists also understand the importance of a graded-loading program in managing patella tendinopathy and will help you get back to your chosen activity in the fastest possible time.

If you are currently experiencing knee pain, please do not hesitate to arrange an appointment with us at PhysioSW19.”

Leroy McKechnie, Physiotherapist PhysioSW19

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