Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 8, pp 1101–1112 | Cite as

Region-Specific Tendon Properties and Patellar Tendinopathy: A Wider Understanding

  • Stephen John Pearson
  • Syed Robiul Hussain
Review Article


Patellar tendinopathy is a common painful musculoskeletal disorder with a very high prevalence in the athletic population that can severely limit or even end an athletic career. To date, the underlying pathophysiology leading to the condition remains poorly understood, although reports suggesting that patellar tendinopathy most frequently concerns the proximal posterior region of the tendon has prompted some researchers to examine region-specific tendon properties for a better understanding of the etiology and potential risk factors associated with the condition. However, to date, research concerning the in vivo region-specific tendon properties in relation to patellar tendinopathy is very scarce, perhaps due to the lack of validated techniques that can determine such properties in vivo. In recent years, a technique has been developed involving an automated tendon-tracking program that appears to be very useful in the determination of region-specific tendon properties in vivo. In terms of regional variations in tendon properties, previous research has demonstrated differences in structural, mechanical, and biochemical properties between the discrete regions of the patellar tendon, but the extent to which these regional variations contribute to patellar tendinopathy remains elusive. In addition, with respect to treatment strategies for patellar tendinopathy, previous research has utilized a wide range of interventions, but the use of eccentric exercise (EE) and/or heavy-slow resistance (HSR) training appear to be most promising. However, the optimal program design variables of EE and HSR training that induce the most favorable effects are yet to be determined. This review article provides a detailed discussion of all of the above to allow a better understanding of the etiology and potential risk factors associated with the condition as well as the most effective treatment strategies. First, a comprehensive literature review is provided with respect to region-specific structural, mechanical, and biochemical properties, in association with patellar tendinopathy. Second, the automated tendon-tracking methodology is outlined to assist future researchers in the determination of region-specific tendon properties. Finally, potential treatment strategies are discussed, particularly with regards to the use of EE and HSR training for the management of patellar tendinopathy.


Patellar Tendon Eccentric Exercise Pentosidine Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Patellar Tendinopathy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No funding was provided in the preparation of this review, and the authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the contents of the review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Health, Sport and Rehabilitation Sciences ResearchUniversity of SalfordManchesterUK

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