Patellar Tendon Straps & Taping

Patella tendon taping

Patellar tendon straps are worn around the knee to help relieve symptoms of Patella Tendonitis, Osgood Schlatter disease, and Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Lesion.

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

What injuries are patellar tendon straps suitable for?

Patellar tendon straps/braces (or taping techniques) are 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. Try it yourself though and see if it helps. How well any taping or bracing works also depends on the quality of the patella tendon strap, or how effectively taping is applied.

Patellar tendon straps

Jumpers knee patellar tendon straps

Patellar tendon straps or braces work in a similar way to the patella taping technique. They come in various styles and sizes but all work the same way by applying a compression force around the knee.

As a result, the direction the forces through the Patellar tendon changes. Therefore, taking the strain away from painful tissues and allowing them to heal.

When to use patella tendon straps?

The aim of patellar tendon straps 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 that it can cope with.

Patellar tendonitis straps buying guide

Prices range considerably when buying a patellar 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.

Patellar tendonitis taping

Patellar tendonitis taping is an alternative using Patellar tendon straps.

How to apply patellar tendonitis taping

  1. Anchor tape

    Apply a strip of hyper-fix tape around the knee. This is a thin elastic adhesive tape that provides a good base, or anchor for the supporting strips to stick to.

  2. Make support strips

    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.

  3. Position support strips

    Position the two twisted strips of tape over the patella tendon. Relax. Do not tense up your thigh muscles.

  4. Secure

    Wrap the tape around the knee and secure.

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Patellar tendon straps vs Patellar tendonitis taping

Which is best? Well they both work the same. Patellar tendonitis taping is very simple. You wrap tape around the tendon, just below the knee. As a result, the strapping compresses the patella tendon, changing the angle of the tendon.

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.

Braces work in exactly the same way. Tape is probably more accurate but is a use once only product then you need to re-apply. Also if you have hairey legs then sticky tape is not comfotable.

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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