Knee Tendonitis
Not A Tendon Problem

Knee Tendonitis, the generall term for knee pain caused by tendonitis of the knee issues, also called Patella or Patellar Tendonitis, or Jumpers Knee.

There is a lot of real estate making up the knee.  Multiple muscles and their tendons cross the knee joint.

Any of them, and/or one or more of them, can be causing tendonitis symptoms.

The important thing to know about tendonitis, in the knee or elsewhere, is that even though the tendon is hurting, the tendon is NOT the problem.

Knee Tendonitis
Anatomy Facts

Who gets Knee Tendonitis?

- Basketball players, baseball players, football players, soccer players, grandma/grandpa, hard laborers, knitters, etc.

- Anybody can get knee tendinitis

What Kind of joint is the knee joint?

- The knee is a synovial joint (movement lubricates the joint).

- The knee is a hinge joint.

How many meniscus does the knee have?

- The knee has two Meniscus (medial and lateral).

cause of knee tendonitis location picture graphic

How many kinds of cartilage is the knee joint made of?

- The knee joint is made up of two different types of cartilage ( fibrocartilage and articular cartilage)

How many bones make up the knee joint?  

- Three bones make up the knee joint.

What are the bones that make the knee joint?

- Femur, Tibia, Patella (The Fibula isn't technically part of the knee but can play a role in knee issues.)

How many muscles cross the knee joint?  How many tendons cross the knee joint?

- 12 muscles (and their tendons) cross the joint

What are the names of the muscles that cross the knee joint?

- Sartorius, Rectus Femoris, Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Gracilis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedis, Gastrocnemius, Popliteus, Plantaris

What causes knee tendonitis?

-  Running, jumping, walking, standing, etc, DOES NOT cause knee tendonitis.

Knee Tendinitis
How It Works

All Tendonitis is made up of multiple factors.  Knee Tendinitis is no different.

See:  Pain Causing Dyanmic

See:  What Is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis of the knee is one of the most complex tendonitis scenarios.


  • It is a weight bearing joint.  
  • 12 different muscles (and/or their tendons)
  • 12 different muscles are exerting force (or not) on the form and function of the joint.
  • Being mostly various connective tissue structures (tendon/ligament/cartilage) there is less blood flow the the area (this makes it tougher to get inflammation out).

But like every other location where tendonitis shows up, the factors and mechanism are predictable and known.

So, how did I get knee tendonitis symptoms?

  • Muscles got tighter and tighter over time (and stayed tight)
  • Tighter muscles absorb less force, and that force has to go somewhere
  • Process of Inflammation set in, and is now chronic
  • Necessary nutrition (for optimal function) got less and less available

What Causes Knee Tendonitis Knee problems?

See above.  That's the cause.

It's not sports.  It's not work.  It's not standing on your feet all day.

It's definintely not 'repetitive strain'.

Proof?   The proof is that lots of people do as much or more than you, and they have no knee pain or knee symptoms.

So it's not the amount of activity, repetitive or otherwise.  It's your body's ability to perform that work (and recovery).

Knee Tendonitis Symptoms

You already know what your symptoms are.  Knee pain.

Specifically, knee tendonitis knee pain symptoms are limited to, essentialy, tendon pain.

The following are/can be symptoms of tendonitis of the knee:

  • Squeaking sounds (the tendon squeaking)
  • Tendon pain (mild to debilitating)
  • Burning sensation (on the OUTER layer, skin level [just under])
  • Stiffness when bending knee joint either direction

The following are not technically knee tendinitis symptoms:

  • Crunching sounds from the joint
  • Knee joint pain
  • Deep in the knee pain
  • Meniscus pain
  • Collapse when putting standing weight on the leg/knee

And of course, one possible symptom of knee tendonitis is the development of Arthritis In The Knee.

Knee Tendonitis
What Might Help But Won't Fix It says:

"Here are some simple steps you can take to quell knee tendinitis pain. At the first sign of trouble:

  • limit activities that put stress on your knees
  • apply ice
  • use over-the-counter pain relievers, ideally aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • use a knee support."

That's great, but:

  • Rest is not a fix, so not a 'treatment'.  At best it reduces new irritation into an already irritated dynamic.  Take three months off, pain goes away, get back on your feet and the pain will soon (sometimes VERY soon) be back.
  • Icing is great.  It increases circulation and decreases pain.  But it's not a fix (because there are other factors involved). See:  How To Reduce Inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs like Iburofen are fine to get you through the day, but in no way are they a fix.  And they can be harmful to you when taken for more than just short term.  So, not a 'treatment'.
  • Splints and Braces (It's a 'wrist' splint page, but all the info applies to knee braces) are fine to get you through the day, but are not a fix.  So, not a 'treatment'.

Physical therapy is often prescribed for tendonitis knee pain symptoms.  Depending on your scenario and the skill of the therapist it may get better or not.

'Strengthening' can work if 'weakness' is a cause of the pain/problem.

All tendonitis, including Knee Tendonitis, is reversible when the Right methods are applied to the multiple factors causing the pain/problem.

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