Management of Patellar Tendinopathy Through Monitoring, Load Control, and Therapeutic Exercise: A Systematic Review

J Sport Rehabil. 2022 Mar 1;31(3):337-350. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2021-0117. Epub 2021 Dec 23.


Context: Patellar tendinopathy presents with persistent tendon pain located in the lower pole of the patella and loss of function related to mechanical load. Although its pathogenesis is not completely clear, conservative treatment including exercise is the main intervention of patellar tendinopathy treatment.

Objective: To describe the efficacy of patellar tendinopathy management through therapeutic exercise, and control and monitoring of loads.

Evidence acquisition: MEDLINE, WoS, Cochrane Plus, PEDro, and the gray literature were searched from inception to July 2021. Based on the PICO strategy, the inclusion criteria were clinical trials published in English or Spanish; outcomes of function, pain, and strength; patients with patellar tendinopathy with no age or gender limitations; using an active intervention; and at least a methodological quality equal to or greater than 3 points on the Jadad scale. All data were analyzed by 2 independent reviewers (P.N.-M. and D.H.-G.). Studies were qualitatively synthesized using a descriptive synthesis. The methodological quality and risk of bias assessment were performed with the PEDro and Jadad scale, respectively.

Evidence synthesis: A total of 136 articles were identified, of which 12 met the eligibility criteria. All of them were regarded as presenting a moderate risk of bias and their methodological quality was considered acceptable to good. Recovering patellar tendinopathy with therapeutic exercise seems to significantly improve function, pain, and strength after intervention and even lasted over time.

Conclusion: A treatment based on load monitoring and physical exercise has proven to be effective in rehabilitating patellar tendinopathy, with positive results in the short and medium term.

Keywords: education; exercise therapy; patellar tendinopathy; therapy; treatment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Patella*
  • Tendinopathy* / therapy