Ben Conway GSR Bsc (Hons) 

The Running School Bristol 

How could Patella Tendon pain present itself? 


If you are someone that has recently got into running, multidirectional sport, or just increased your activity and are experiencing any of these symptoms then have a read below: 

  • Suffering from pain at the front of the knee 
  • The knee cap tender to touch?  
  • The knee hurts/painful when going downstairs or upstairs 

Patella Tendinopathy is something many people suffer with throughout their lifetime. Runners commonly suffer with relatable symptoms when either getting back into the sport or looking to increase their training load and progress the amount of activity/intensity for an event.

Factors effecting the Patella Tendon

The Patella Tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the body and so if you’re experiencing symptoms in the front of your knee then are you doing any of the following to cause this…? 

What Tendons don’t like is big change in a small space of time! So, if you are sat at home reading this and thinking…in the last few weeks I have really increased my activity then this may be something you want to address. 

Try looking at increasing distance by 10% on a weekly basis, with a tapering week every third week. Perhaps (as a lot of people do) you can only get out on the weekend and so you tend to complete a lot of your total mileage here, whereas if tried incorporating a biweekly pattern where one morning or evening you tried to run/complete activity to break up the consistent loading at the weekend this may help in the longevity of training. 

Tendons are like the body’s memory foam mattresses, you place them under load, and they adapt to that, you unload them and they slowly return to the state of origin over time. Now this means they usually take longer to display a problem, or why you may be able to run without pain, but your knee hurts afterwards!  

The key here is RECOVERY. Begin with an efficient and dynamic warm up before exercise, ensure that following exercise stretching is completed with emphasis on water replenishment. Equally, give your body 24hrs minimum to recover, in the case of a new routine, give your body 36hrs to recover.  

Usually, a tendon becomes irritated or painful as a result in it not being strong enough to cope with the load going through it.  

The above to points address the main factor which is the overload of that tendon. However, this tendon must be strengthened to recover and reduce the chances of repeat injuries. Strengthening exercises are vitally important in all sports/hobbies, whatever the level you compete or take part in. 

Strength focused rehabilitation for the Patella Tendon. 

Try this routine out below for early-mid stage Patella Tendinopathy rehabilitation:  

  • Single Leg Decline Squat Hold – aim for 45seconds x 3 sets 
  • Body weighted wall squat – aim for 20seconds x 4 sets 
  • Static Barbell Lunge – 8 reps x 3 sets 
  • Reverse Nordic curls – 6 reps x 4 sets 
  • Lunge Stretch – 30second hold x 3 each leg daily. 

It must be pointed out that all of the exercises combined in a session is a very intense work out focused on loading the anterior knee. To gain a suitable rehab program for your presentation it would be very wise to consult a professional Sports Rehabilitator/Physio or Therapist.  

Reverse Nordic Curls: 

Stage 1

Stage 2