Patella Tendon Taping & Bracing

Patella tendon taping

Here we demonstrate a simple taping technique to help relieve the symptoms of Patella tendonitis, Osgood Schlatter disease, and Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Lesion.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 22nd Dec. 2021

What injuries is patella taping suitable for?

Taping or strapping for the patella tendon is used for the following sports injuries:

  • Jumpers knee (Patella tendonitis) – this is inflammation or more likely degeneration of the patella tendon. It causes pain at the bottom of the patella.
  • Osgood Schlatter Disease – commonly affects young athletes between the age of 8 and 15 years of age. The giveaway symptom is pain over the bony protrusion at the top of the tibia (shin bone).
  • Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Lesion causes pain at the very bottom of the patella, similar to patella tendonitis. However, this more commonly affects children and is similar to Osgood Schlatter disease, except at the top of the patella tendon.

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Whether taping or bracing is effective is controversial, with one study unable to provide evidence of its benefit. Try it yourself and see if it helps. How well any taping or bracing works could depend on the quality of the patella tendon strap, or how effectively the taping is applied.

Patellar tendonitis taping tutorial

How to apply patella tendon taping

  • Apply a strip of hyper fix tape around the knee.
  • This is a thin elastic adhesive tape which provides a good base, or anchor for the supporting strips to stick to.
  • Then using a smaller 5cm elastic adhesive bandage tear two longitudinal strips.
  • Twist the two strips. This creates more of a rope or cord effect in the tape.
  • Position the two twisted strips of tape over the patella tendon.
  • Ensure the patient is relaxed and not tensing up the thigh muscles.
  • Wrap the tape around the knee and secure.

How does it work?

Patella tendon taping is very simple. Tape is wrapped around the tendon, just below the knee.

The strapping compresses the patella tendon. As a result, it changes the angle of the tendon against the patella.

Therefore, the part of the tendon where the forces are transmitted changes. This takes the stress away from the painful, part of the tendon and diverts it to another part.

Patella tendon straps

A patella brace or strap works in a similar way to the patella taping technique.

Patella braces come in various styles and sizes but all work the same way by applying a compression force around the knee.

Again, this has the effect of changing the direction the forces are transmitted through the tendon.

Therefore, taking the strain away from painful tissues and allowing them to heal.

When should I use tape or a patella tendon strap?

As the aim of patella tendon taping is to reduce symptoms. You may wish to tape or wear a patella strap all the time whilst it is painful.

Later on, you may not need to wear a support constantly. But when returning to training it is a good idea to give your knee a little extra support by taping or bracing whilst you train.

In particular, patella tendon taping, or a patella tendon strap is advisable for jumping type sports, where some additional support may be needed to protect your knee. The aim of rehab will be to gradually increase the load through the tendon at a rate which it can cope with.

What to look for when buying a patella brace

Prices range considerably when buying a patella tendon strap. Although they all work the same way, some are more comfortable and effective than others. Features to be aware of are:

  • Does it have padding over the patella tendon? This is needed to apply pressure to the tendon without having to tighten the brace up too much.
  • The other thing to be aware of is comfort. Is there padding around the strap itself? In particular, around the back of the knee. Some cheaper products may cut into the back of your knee and be uncomfortable to wear.

References & further reading:

  1. de Vries A, Zwerver J, Diercks R et al. Effect of patellar strap and sports tape on pain in patellar tendinopathy: a randomized controlled trial. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2015 Sep 17. doi: 10.1111/sms.12556.

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