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Quick Facts on Jumper’s Knee


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Other names:

  • Patellar tendinitis
  • Patellar tendinopathy
  • Patellar tendinosis

What is jumper’s knee?

  • Pain and dysfunction of the patellar tendon (just below the kneecap)
  • Usually caused by activities involving high energy storage and release of the tendon (e.g. jumping, quick changes in direction)
  • Due to placing more load/stress on the tendon than it is capable of
  • From a sudden increase in amount/type of activity or gradual overuse

What are the common symptoms of patellar tendonopathy?

  • Gradual onset of pain
  • Pain to touch the bottom of the kneecap
  • Pain with jumping, squatting, running, going up and down stairs
  • An increase in pain the day after lots of exercise
  • If aggravated, pain with prolonged sitting
  • Pain slowly resolves with rest, but returns with activity
  • Decreased power or weakness around the knee

Do I need imaging?

  • Imaging can be used to confirm a diagnosis of patellar tendinopathy, but is not always required
  • Imaging is not helpful for determining the amount of pain or disability one will experience
  • Tendon pathology (changes to tendons on imaging) is common to see on imaging in people who are pain-free

How can therapy help jumper’s knee?

Assessment

  • A review of your current training regimen and any recent changes
  • Markerless motion capture movements to determine if any risk factors, or factors associated with patellar tendinopathy are present, including:
    • Stiff quadriceps and/or hamstring muscles
    • Reduced ankle dorsiflexion (flexing foot up towards knee)
    • Altered landing strategies of the hip and knee
  • Strength testing of the lower limb muscles:
    • Patellar tendinopathy is actually associated with increased knee extensor (quadricep) strength, rather than s decrease or weakness
    • Strength testing can determine a baseline starting point and any imbalances
  • Determining a treatment plan based on your specific goals

Treatment

  • Load management of the tendon:
    • Reducing or modifying activities (reducing frequency, volume, and/or high-stress activities) to a point that the tendon can tolerate
    • A progressive loading program to help the tendon adapt to the demands of your sports/lifestyle
  • Pain relief exercises and advice
  • Manual therapy and exercise to address any range of motion or strength deficits determined in the assessment
  • Bracing to offload tendon

For a more detailed explanation on tendon pain and injuries, check out our tendon pain blog.

References

https://bit.ly/2ErFlD0

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