Tendons are tough bands of connective tissue that attach each end of a muscle to a bone. Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. (See also Overview of Hereditary Connective Tissue Disorders Overview of Connective Tissue Disorders in Children Connective tissue is the tough, often fibrous tissue that binds the body's structures together and provides support and elasticity. Muscles, bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are built... read more .)
Infrapatellar tendinitis typically affects children aged 10 to 13. It is caused by injury due to physical activities that require jumping and the repetitive use of the knees such as figure skating and basketball or volleyball. The overuse of the knees causes very small tears and inflammation to occur in the tendon under the kneecap (patella).
This disorder causes knee pain and tenderness of the tendon under the kneecap. The pain is worst when straightening the knee while climbing stairs, jumping, or doing knee bends.
The doctor bases the diagnosis of infrapatellar tendinitis on the child's history and a physical examination but may do magnetic resonance imaging Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a strong magnetic field and very high frequency radio waves are used to produce highly detailed images. MRI does not use x-rays and is usually very safe... read more (MRI) to view the extent of the injury.
To relieve the pain, children are told to modify their athletic activities, take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and do physical therapy Physical Therapy (PT) Physical therapy, a component of rehabilitation, involves exercising and manipulating the body with an emphasis on the back, upper arms, and legs. It can improve joint and muscle function, helping... read more . Persistent pain may be treated with surgical repair, but this is usually not necessary.