Patellar tendinopathy causes substantial morbidity in both professional and recreational athletes. The condition is most common in athletes of jumping sports such as basketball and volleyball, but it also occurs in soccer, track, and tennis athletes. The disorder arises most often from collagen breakdown rather than inflammation, a tendinosis rather than a tendinitis. Physicians must address the degenerative pathology underlying patellar tendinopathy because regimens that seek to minimize (nonexistent) inflammation would appear illogical. Suggestions for applying the 'tendinosis paradigm' to patellar tendinopathy management include conservative measures such as load reduction, strengthening exercises, and massage. Surgery should be considered only after a long-term and appropriate conservative regimen has failed.