Understanding Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s Knee, also known as Patellar Tendonitis, is an injury to the tendon that connects the kneecap (Patella) to the shin bone (Tibia). Jumper’s Knee is caused by repeated movements such as constant jumping, landing, and changing directions that can cause tissue damage and irritation to the knee. Sports such as track and field, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, running, soccer, and basketball can put a lot of stress on the knee. Overtraining, jumping improperly and not enough stretching can lead to tight quadriceps muscles which can result in overextending the knee.
The common symptoms of Jumper’s Knee include:
- Pain when bending the knee
- Pain in the quadriceps muscles
- Pain and tenderness over the patellar tendon, below the kneecap
- Stiffness in the knee while jumping, squatting, sitting kneeling, or climbing stairs
- Weak in the leg or calf muscles
When you first experience knee pain, be mindful and take precautions to stop doing the activity that is causing the injury and take the time to rest in order to recover. Simple measures that can taken to reduce inflammation and pain include icing the knee and practice strengthening or stretching exercises in the knee and leg.
Below are some recommended treatments for mild to moderate Jumper’s Knee:
- Elevate the knee by placing a pillow under the leg
- Temporarily avoid jumping and major leg movements (e.g. running or lower body exercises)
- Gradually restart your workout by reducing intensity and replace running with cycling or swimming to put less pressure on the knee
- Wear a knee brace or knee strap to help minimize pain and relieve strain on the patellar tendon
- Massage therapy
- Reduce pain and swelling with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen
Depending on the severity of the pain from Jumper’s Knee, please consult your doctor or medical professional to seek advice and treatment. If there is persistent pain even after trying the methods above, surgery may be required. After surgery, a rehabilitation program with strengthening exercises and massage therapy can take a few weeks to months to recover fully.
Although you cannot prevent accidents from happening, you can decrease the risk of getting injured by stretching. A good warm-up and cool-down routine that stretches the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles can help prevent Jumper’s Knee. As always, knee sleeves and knee braces are there to help to provide extra support and protection for a faster recovery.