Clinical features of patellar tendinopathy and their implications for rehabilitation

J Orthop Res. 2007 Sep;25(9):1164-75. doi: 10.1002/jor.20415.


This study investigated the clinical features of patellar tendinopathy (PT), with focus on individuals with unilateral and bilateral PT. A cross-sectional study design was employed to compare individuals with unilateral (n = 14) or bilateral (n = 13) PT and those without PT (control, n = 31). Features assessed included thigh strength (normalized peak knee extensor torque) and flexibility (sit-and-reach and active knee extension), calf endurance (heel-rise test), ankle flexibility (dorsiflexion), alignment measures (arch height and leg length difference), and functional measures (hop for distance and 6 m hop test). Groups were matched for age and height; however, unilateral and bilateral PT had greater mass with a higher body mass index (BMI) than control. Also, bilateral PT performed more sport hours per week than both unilateral PT and control. Unilateral PT had less thigh strength than control and bilateral PT, whereas bilateral PT had more thigh flexibility than control and unilateral PT. Both unilateral and bilateral PT had altered alignment measures compared to control. Features that predicted symptoms in PT were lower thigh flexibility and strength, whereas those that predicted function were higher thigh strength and lower ankle flexibility. These findings indicate that unilateral and bilateral PT represent distinct entities, and that thigh strength appears particularly important in PT as it predicted both symptoms and function in PT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Patellar Ligament / injuries*
  • Patellar Ligament / physiopathology
  • Pliability
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sports Medicine*
  • Tendinopathy / etiology
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology
  • Tendinopathy / rehabilitation*
  • Thigh / physiopathology
  • Torque