Patellar tendinopathy (PT) presents a challenge to orthopaedic surgeons. The purpose of this review is to revise strategies for treatment of PT
Materials and methods
A PubMed (MEDLINE) search of the years 2002–2012 was performed using "patellar tendinopathy" and "treatment" as keywords. The twenty-two articles addressing the treatment of PT with a higher level of evidence were selected.
Conservative treatment includes therapeutic exercises (eccentric training), extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), and different injection treatments (platelet-rich plasma, sclerosing polidocanol, steroids, aprotinin, autologous skin-derived tendon-like cells, and bone marrow mononuclear cells). Surgical treatment may be indicated in motivated patients if carefully followed conservative treatment is unsuccessful after more than 3–6 months. Open surgical treatment includes longitudinal splitting of the tendon, excision of abnormal tissue (tendonectomy), resection and drilling of the inferior pole of the patella, closure of the paratenon. Postoperative inmobilisation and aggressive postoperative rehabilitation are also paramount. Arthroscopic techniques include shaving of the dorsal side of the proximal tendon, removal of the hypertrophic synovitis around the inferior patellar pole with a bipolar cautery system, and arthroscopic tendon debridement with excision of the distal pole of the patella.
Physical training, and particularly eccentric training, appears to be the treatment of choice. The literature does not clarify which surgical technique is more effective in recalcitrant cases. Therefore, both open surgical techniques and arthroscopic techniques can be used.