Background Patellar tendinopathy has a multifactorial aetiology, and many potential risk factors have been described in the literature. Findings are conflicting though, and most research is conducted on elite athletes.
Objective Aim of the study is to determine risk factors for patellar tendinopathy in a large representative sample of basketball and volleyball players.
Design Cross-sectional survey using an online questionnaire.
Setting Basketball and volleyball players of all playing levels.
Participants All basketball and volleyball players between ages 18 and 35 years (n=7740) from the Dutch Basketball Association and the Dutch Volleyball Association were invited to complete the questionnaire. 1561 volleyball players completed the questionnaire.
Assessment of risk factors The following independent variables were collected: Gender, age, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, years playing basketball/volleyball, hours of training during the last week, number of games during the last month, average hours of other sports per week, training increase compared to last year, playing surface, playing level and playing position.
Main outcome measurements Presence of symptomatic patellar tendinopathy was the dependent variable.
Results Risk factors for patellar tendinopathy were age, playing at the national level, being male and playing volleyball (compared to playing basketball). Risk factors for men and women were comparable. Among volleyball players outside hitters and middle blockers/hitters had an increased risk compared to setters. For basketball players no risk factors could be identified. No differences in risk factors were found between athletes with unilateral and bilateral patellar tendinopathy.
Conclusion Several potential risk factors for patellar tendinopathy were identified. These findings should be taken into account for prevention and rehabilitation purposes.
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