Jumper’s Knee

Patellar tendinopathy is a common injury among athletes involved in jumping and landing. Sports such as basketball, volleyball, long jump and track-and-field can be tough on the knee. Intensive training in today’s competitive world of sports has increased the occurrence of jumper’s knee.

 Jumper’s Knee

What causes jumper’s knee

Jumper’s knee occurs when repeated force is exerted on the patella tendon while jumping leading to microscopic tears. This weakens the tendon making it prone to further damage. As the injury progresses, it reduces flexibility in the thighs and hamstrings and gradually increases pain in the knees.

Symptoms of jumper's knee

Symptoms of jumper’s knee include a throbbing pain beneath the knee cap, also known as the lower pole of the patella. The athlete may experience mild swelling, pain and stiffness that reduces range of motion. In extreme cases, he or she may notice discoloration of the knee joint.

The knee injury can be graded in four stages
1) Pain in the patella tendon (superior pole of the patella, inferior pole of the patella) after an activity.
2) Pain at the start of an activity which lessens after warm-up and re-appears on completion of the activity.
3) Pain remains during and after the activity and the athlete is unable to participate.
4) Complete rupturing of the quadriceps or patellar tendon.

Treatment of jumper’s knee

Treatment involves reducing pain and swelling through rest and ice therapy. Applying P.R.I.C.E (protect, rest, ice, compression and elevation) is an age-old method which gives immediate relief, shortens recovery time and reduces discomfort in the initial stages of the injury. It protects the knee from further injuries and limits knee usage through knee straps, braces, kinesiology tapes and crutches.
Continual stress on the affected area can cause further damage. It is advisable to rest the injured knee for a few days and allow it to heal. Duration of rest depends on the extent of the injury and can be between a couple of days to a week.

Cryotherapy or ice therapy increases blood circulation and slows inflammation and swelling of the knee. It also relieves pain by deadening the nerve-cell activity. Rollanice pack in a damp towel and apply it on the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every two hours in the first 48 hours of the injury. People who have circulatory problems and are sensitive to cold should be wary of using an ice pack treatment.

Compression sleeves apply pressure to the tendon ligament and protect the joint from further injury thus reducing pain and swelling. Remove the compression sleeves when you sleep. Elevation helps bring down swelling by allowing extra fluid to drain back into the body. Lie down flat with leg raised above the level of the heart using elevating pillows or wedges under the knee. This can be done overnight or during the ice therapy. During the rest and recovery period, muscles tighten and weaken around the knee. Rehab exercises are vital to improving strength, flexibility and balance. Simple knee strengthening exercises help combat weaknesses in the knee muscles while stretching exercises work to loosen muscles and promote flexibility.