Purpose: In patellar tendinopathy, there is anterior knee pain with tenderness of the attachment of the patellar tendon over the lower pole of the patella. The condition is commonly associated with athletic overuse, but we have encountered it in some patients following direct blunt trauma to the anterior aspect of the knee. We describe the history and management of patients with traumatic patellar tendinopathy.
Method: Between April 2000 and August 2006, we managed eight otherwise healthy well trained athletes who developed signs and symptoms compatible with classical patellar tendinopathy after a direct trauma to the anterior aspect of the patellar tendon during sport activity.
Results: The clinical diagnosis of patellar tendinopathy was confirmed clinically and at imaging by MRI and ultrasound scans. Patients responded to conservative or surgical management, in the same way as patellar tendinopathy secondary to overuse.
Conclusion: A single direct traumatic event can lead to chronic tendon problems. Hence, in addition to overuse injury, patellar tendinopathy can follow a direct trauma and exhibit the same clinical features. Further research is required to better understand the pathophysiology of the clinical condition.