Background: Patellar tendinopathy (jumper's knee) is an overuse syndrome that frequently affects athletes. A retrospective study was done to analyze the results at a minimum of five years after the performance of a surgical technique in competitive athletes.
Methods: From 1985 to 1995, thirty-two patients (thirty-eight knees) affected by patellar tendinopathy were treated surgically after failure of nonoperative treatment. All knees were operated on by the same surgeon using the same surgical technique: longitudinal splitting of the tendon, excision of any abnormal tissue that was identified, and resection and drilling of the inferior pole of the patella. The results in twenty-seven patients (thirty-three knees), including twenty-two athletes (twenty-seven knees) who were still involved in sports activities (or wished to still be involved) at a competitive level at the time of final follow-up, were reviewed at a mean of eight years postoperatively. The results were evaluated according to symptoms and the ability to return to full sports activities.
Results: The result was excellent in twenty-three knees (70%), good in five, fair in one, and poor in four at the time of the long-term follow-up. Eighty-two percent of the patients who tried to pursue sports at their preinjury level were able to do so, and 63% of those knees were totally symptom-free.
Conclusions: The outcome of the described surgical treatment appears to be satisfactory; however, the results are less predictable in volleyball players.