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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Factors associated with magnetic resonance imaging defined patellar tendinopathy in community-based middle-aged women: a prospective cohort study

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Jason Toppi, Jessica Fairley, Flavia M. Cicuttini, Jill Cook, Susan R. Davis, Robin J. Bell, Fahad Hanna, Yuanyuan Wang
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

FMC and YW were involved in conception and design of the study. JT, JF, SRD, RJB, and FH were involved in the acquisition of data. JT, YW, FMC, and JK were involved in statistical analysis and interpretation of the data. JT, YW, and FMC drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript with critical revision of the article for important intellectual content and approved the final manuscript. YW and FMC took the responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, from inception to finished article.



Patellar tendinopathy identified by imaging modalities has been reported in asymptomatic athletes and associated with tendon-related symptoms. However there is little data in community-based populations. The aim of this cohort study was to examine the prevalence of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) defined patellar tendinopathy, the factors associated with this condition, and whether it was associated with knee pain in community-based middle-aged women.


One hundred seventy six women, aged 40–67 years, with no significant knee pain or injury underwent knee MRI. Patellar tendinopathy was defined on both T1- and T2-weighted fat-saturated MRIs. The cross-sectional area of vastus medialis was measured from MRI. Height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index (BMI). Physical activity was assessed using a questionnaire. Knee pain was assessed using the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index.


The prevalence of MRI defined patellar tendinopathy was 30.1 %. Higher levels of physical activity (odds ratio 1.65, 95 % CI 1.09–2.51) and greater vastus medialis cross-sectional area (odds ratio 1.22, 95 % CI 1.04–1.43) were associated with increased prevalence of patellar tendinopathy, independent of age and BMI. The persistence of patellar tendinopathy was associated with the worsening of knee pain over 2 years (odds ratio 10.65, 95 % CI 1.14–99.77).


In community-based middle-aged women MRI-diagnosed patellar tendinopathy is common, with higher levels of physical activity and greater vastus medialis size being risk factors suggesting a biomechanical effect. Persistent patellar tendinopathy is associated with worsening of knee pain. These findings suggest that further work is needed to determine the contribution of patellar tendinopathy on knee pain and function in older people.
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