Jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis is defined as an overuse injury that results to front knee pain, usually at a site at the base of the kneecap. Repeated strain from excessive running or jumping leads to inflammation or deterioration of the patella tendon.
Aside from overuse, other factors that increases the risk for the injury includes poor foot biomechanics, incorrect training practices and weak quadriceps muscles.
What are the signs?
The indications of jumper’s knee typically include the following:
- Knee pain at the anterior base of the kneecap
- Base of the patella is significantly tender if pressed and might appear thicker or large than the unaffected side
- Stiffness and achiness after physical activity
- Pain or discomfort when the quadriceps muscles are contracted in acute cases
Remember that activities that involves jumping are likely to trigger pain or discomfort.
Management of jumper’s knee
The treatment for jumper’s knee is aimed on reducing the initial pain and inflammation with adequate rest and application of ice that is a followed by a rehabilitation program that includes eccentric strengthening exercises.
- Apply the PRICE method (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation). Cold therapy must be done regularly especially during the initial 24-48 hours and after exercise. A taping technique can also help lessen the strain on the tendon.
- Anti-inflammatory medications might be prescribed by the doctor.
- Electrotherapy might be suggested by a therapist, specifically ultrasound or laser treatment to lessen the pain and inflammation as well as promote healing. In some cases, cross friction massage is also beneficial especially for chronic cases.
- Aprotinin injections might be used for tendinopathies by restoring the balance of the enzymes in the tendon.
In case the affected knee does not respond to the conservative measures, surgical intervention might be necessary.