Now that summer is in full force, you’ve probably noticed that you’re more active than in the winter months. Anytime you increase the frequency or intensity of physical activity you put yourself at greater risk for injury. This is especially true for sports activities that involve direction changing and jumping movements.
Jumper’s Knee is fairly common among tendinopathy injuries affecting athletes. Have you heard of this term before? The term has been used since 1973 to describe patellar tendinitis, an injury that affects the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. Basically Jumper's knee refers to a stress overload to the knee due to jumping. Basketball and Volleyball athletes are most at risk because of the constant pressure put on the knee from jumping.
Jumper's Knee Risk Factors:
Multiple factors may contribute to your risk of patellar tendinitis, including:
• Frequent and intense physical activity or repeated jumping.
• Lack of flexibility or tightness in leg muscles causing strain on your patellar tendon.
• Imbalance of muscle strength. An uneven pull on muscles could cause tendinitis.
Jumper's Knee Diagnosis Stages:
The duration of symptoms can vary, so jumper's knee is often classified into 1 of 4 stages:
Stage 1 - Pain only after activity, without functional impairment
Stage 2 - Pain during and after activity, although the patient is still able to perform adequately in his or her sport
Stage 3 - Prolonged pain during and after activity, with increasing difficulty in performing at a adequate level
Stage 4 - Complete tendon tear requiring surgical repair
Jumper's Knee Treatment:
These guidelines are meant for information purposes only. You should always consult your physician before attempting any rehabilitation or treatment plan. Treatment is dependent on the grade of your injury.
• Reduce Pain & Inflammation: Discontinue activity and apply cold therapy
or ice regimen for 15 minutes every hour if the injury appears bad and at least three times a day otherwise.
• Stretch & Strengthening Exercises: Try 10 seconds of holding exercises and repeat 5 times.
Aim to stretch at least 5 times a day. Isometric quad contractions, Single leg extensions, Eccentric squats, Lunges and Step back exercises are recommended for strengthening.
• Patellar Tendon Strap:
The strap applies pressure to your patellar tendon to help distribute pressure away from the tendon itself and direct it through the strap instead. This may help relieve pain.
• Therapy: Additional therapies or treatment may be prescribed by your physician depending on the severity of the condition. This includes Corticosteroid injection, Platelet-rich plasma injection or Surgery.