Jumper's knee is a typical functional overload injury because it affects those athletes who submit their knee extensor mechanisms to intense and repeated stress, e.g. volleyball and basketball players, high and long jumpers. According to the classification of Perugia and colleagues, it is an insertional tendinopathy affecting, in order of frequency, the insertion of the patellar tendon into the patella (65% of cases), attachment of the quadriceps tendon to the patella (25%) and the attachment of the patellar tendon to the tibial tuberosity (10%). The frequent occurrence of this injury in athletes led to the study of factors that may contribute to its onset and aggravation. These factors are divided into extrinsic (i.e. kind of sport practised and training methods used) and intrinsic (i.e. connected with the somatic and morphological characteristics of the athletes). On the basis of our experience and after a review of the literature it appears, contrary to what has been repeatedly claimed in the past, the extrinsic factors are more important than the intrinsic in the aetiology of jumper's knee. The effect of traumatic incidents and use of elastic kneecap guards should also be considered negligible. The intrinsic causes of jumper's knee, can be sought in the mechanical properties of tendons (resistance, elasticity and extensibility) rather than in morphological or biomechanical abnormalities of the knee extensor mechanism.