Key Points about Quadriceps Tendonitis

  • Quadriceps tendonitis is an inflammation of the thigh muscle, or quadriceps, that causes upper-knee pain while using the knee joint.
  • This inflammation often results from overuse of the knee joints or leg muscles.
  • Quadriceps tendonitis is treated by resting and icing the joint, avoiding activities that cause pain, practicing physical therapy exercises, taking over-the-counter
Common related conditions
Knee Arthritis Knee Dislocation Patellar Tendinitis Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Thigh and Lower Leg Fractures

Overview

Quadriceps tendonitis occurs when the tendon of the thigh muscle, or quadriceps, becomes inflamed. This inflammation often results from overuse of the knee joints or leg muscles, whether through sports or through an occupation that required frequent jumping, running, or squatting.

Treatment for quadriceps tendinitis involves resting and icing the joint, avoiding activities that cause pain, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines as needed. Your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen the legs. If these remedies do not improve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend additional measures such as surgery.

Set up an appointment with your doctor if your knee pain persists or worsens over time, is accompanied by joint swelling, or impairs your ability to carry out daily tasks. Your doctor will assess the cause and extent of your knee pain and recommend a treatment plan accordingly. 

Quadriceps tendonitis causes

The inflammation characteristic of quadriceps tendonitis is often caused by overuse or overexertion or the leg muscles or knee joints. This overuse can occur through intense exercise or physical activity, and can be worsened by not wearing appropriate footwear and

Quadriceps tendonitis risk factors

You may be more likely to develop quadriceps tendonitis if you:

  • Play sports that require frequent jumping and running, which can stress the patellar tendon
  • Have tightness, weakness, or imbalances in the leg muscles
  • Do not wear proper footwear when exercising
  • Rapidly and dramatically increase the intensity of your exercise or training regimen
  • Have a chronic illness such as lupus, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis

Quadriceps tendonitis symptoms

The main symptom of quadriceps tendonitis is pain where the knee meets the thigh. This pain may:

  • Arise during or after physical activity
  • Occur when flexing the leg into a straight position
  • Be accompanied by stiffness, swelling, or a feeling or warmth in the affected joint

Quadriceps tendonitis diagnosis

When assessing the cause of your knee pain, your doctor will review your symptoms, ask about your physical activity routine, and examine the affected knee and leg. Your doctor may also order imaging tests such as:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan

Quadriceps tendonitis treatment

For initial treatment, your doctor will recommend resting and icing the legs, avoiding activities that cause pain, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories as needed. Your doctor may also provide you with a physical therapy regimen to correct muscle imbalances and strengthen the legs.

If these therapies do not alleviate your pain, your doctor may suggest more invasive measures, such as surgery to remove damaged tissue and facilitate blood flow to the knee.

When to seek care

Set up an appointment with your doctor your knee pain:

  • Does not improve with rest and ice
  • Gets worse over time
  • Is accompanied by redness or swelling in the knee
  • Gets in the way of your daily life

Next Steps

Your doctor will help set up a treatment plan that works best for you.