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Best Ways to Reduce Knee Tendonitis Pain

by Patty Weasler, RN September 17, 2020 0 Comments

Fastening knee brace

Finding the best knee tendonitis treatment isn’t always easy, but necessary to overcome this common condition that affects both elite athletes and weekend warriors. Sometimes called jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis, the condition happens when the tendon connecting the patella to the shinbone develops small tears. Treatment is usually conservative with home remedies though medical treatment can be necessary. Read on to learn more about knee tendonitis treatments.

Home Treatment

With knee tendonitis, treatment starts with simple home treatment options. These treatments help provide pain relief and support you while your body heals itself. Learn more below.

  • RICE

    Rest, ice, compression, and elevation form the acronym RICE. It is one of the gold standard treatments for soft tissue and tendon injuries.


    Knee tendonitis is typically caused by overuse. The tiny tears in the tendon don’t have time to heal in between workouts or activities and then develop into a bigger problem. Resting gives these tendon tears time to heal and is an essential treatment that is often overlooked.


    Icing your knee will give you temporary pain relief by numbing the area. It also reduces inflammation by minimizing fluid accumulation in the surrounding tissues. Wrap your knee in an ice pack or submerge your knee in a cold bath. Never use an ice pack while you are sleeping, it can cause serious skin injuries.


    Compression is used to support the injured joint and reduce swelling. You can accomplish this by wrapping your knee with a reusable elastic bandage, knee sleeve, or brace. Minimizing the swelling within the knee will help your recovery time and reduce pain. Just make sure that your compression isn’t so tight that it reduces blood flow to the area.


    Just like compression, elevation is used to reduce swelling in the knee. To elevate your knee lay down on a couch or bed and place one or two pillows under your leg and knee. Try to elevate your knee while sleeping and anytime that you have to rest. This simple home treatment will make a significant impact on your knee swelling and recovery.

  • Stretches and Exercises

    Your knee joint is supported by tendons and the many muscles that make up your leg. Strengthening exercises for your hamstrings and quadriceps will help prevent further injury and support your joint for the long term. Stretching exercises are also important to prevent injury and reduce muscle tension. Wait until your pain has subsided before you start exercising and stretching.

    Check out this article to learn more about knee tendonitis exercises.

  • Medication

    Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are used to reduce swelling and pain. These medications are easily found at any pharmacy and are inexpensive. Before you start taking a new medication talk to your pharmacist or doctor. These medications, while generally considered safe, can interact with other medications or make certain conditions worse.

  • Knee Brace

    A knee brace will stabilize your knee and can restrict your range of motion to help prevent further injury. There are many different types of knee braces ranging from knee straps that sit just below your kneecap to hinged knee braces that fully support your joint.

    A brace can be used intermittently, like while playing sports, or can be used during the initial injury phase. Whichever way you use it, avoid wearing for too long as it can cause your leg muscles to weaken.

    Need help finding the right knee brace for you? Check our buyer’s guide here.

Professional Treatment

When home treatment isn’t enough to manage your knee tendonitis then it’s time to seek professional treatment.

  • Physical Therapy

    A physical therapist will evaluate your knee injuries and develop a personalized plan for treatment. Often times physical therapists will provide you with stretching and strengthening exercises that can also be done in your own home. They will also help you develop ways to modify your current movements and activities to minimize pain and the risk of worsening your injury.

  • Surgery

    Surgery on the patellar tendon is typically reserved for the worse tendonitis cases. If all other treatment options have been exhausted your doctor will refer you to a surgeon who can review your case and determine the best surgical options for you.

    Arthroscopic surgery

    Arthroscopic surgery uses small incisions in the knee to perform the surgery. As opposed to an open surgical procedure, arthroscopy is less invasive. Arthroscopic surgery can increase knee function and decrease pain. During the procedure, the surgeon may remove damaged tissues and perform any necessary repairs.

    Post-Surgical Recovery

    After surgery, recovery will be dependent on the extent of the injury and how much repair the surgeon needed to do. In certain cases, patients will need to wear a cast during their recovery where others will have an aggressive rehabilitation plan for them. Talk to your surgeon and work closely with a physical therapist to determine the best post-surgical recovery route for you.

Alternative Treatments

For some people, alternative treatments can help them recover from knee tendonitis. Some of these options may be appropriate for some patients, and not right for others. Talk to your doctor to help you find the best options for your situation.

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection

    This treatment uses the patient’s own blood to form an injection of concentrated platelets to improve healing.

  • Ultrasound-Guided Dry Needling

    An ultrasound device guides healthcare professionals to make small holes in the tendon to relieve pain and accelerate healing.

  • Polidocanol Injections

    These injections break up new blood vessels on the tendon which can be associated with pain.

  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

    This therapy can improve the blood supply to the tendon and improve healing time.

  • Hyperthermia Thermotherapy

    During this treatment, there is heating and cooling along the deep tissue to relieve pain.

  • High Volume Ultrasound Guided Injections

    Similar to polidocanol injections, this procedure also breaks up new blood vessels on the tendon.

Trying Patellar Tendonitis Treatment Safely

Knee tendonitis is a painful condition that can develop over time as an overuse injury or can happen as a result of a traumatic event. The tears within the tendon cause pain on the front of the knee and in the surrounding area. Thankfully, home treatment is an effective and safe option that can be successful. If home treatment isn’t enough to heal your tendinitis then it’s time to seek medical treatment. As always, talk to your doctor to develop the best treatment plan.


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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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