Jumpers Knee - Patella Tendinopathy

Jumpers Knee

Jumpers Knee (patellar tendinopathy - patellar tendinitis). First of all you have to know that patella tendinopathy (jumpers knee) is the degenration of the patellar tendon. Tendinopathy stands for the degeneration of a tendon. Tenditis is the inflammation of a tendon and does not perfectly fit to this article. As the two things often go hand in hand i mentioned both in the headline. So patellar tendinopathy, also know as "jumpers knee" is the degenration (plus sometimes the inflammation or partial rupture) of the patellar ligament which connects the knee cap (patella) with the big shin bone (tibia). Find more injury related topics at injuries main.

Description: Jumpers Knee

  • The patellar tendon connects the knee cap with the shin bone. This tendon is usually very strong and helps the quadriceps to extend the leg. (the hamstring bends, the quadriceps extends) So when you jump, it's the qaudriceps and your patellar tendon doing most of the work. (getting most of the stress) (the rest comes from the calves - by extending you ankles) When you land after a jump, again it's the quadriceps and the patellar tendon which get stressed most. Especially people who practice sports involving a lot of jumping and direction changing (like wushu, volleyball, basketball etc.) are in a high risk of jumpers knees. As a result of repeated strain, micro-tears or collagen degeneration may occur.

Symptoms: Jumpers Knee

  • Pain under and on the knee cap.
  • After exercising your knee might feel stiff.
  • When you contract your quadriceps or do a one-leged squat, the area under the knee cap hurts.
  • Calf weakness can be present.
  • Weak legs.
  • Bad balance.

Who is susceptible: Jumpers Knee

  • People who practice sports involving a lot of jumping and landing or fast direction changing.
  • Especially Wushu and XMA if practiced on hard ground.
  • Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer (if played on sticky ground), Badminton, Tennis

Treatment: Jumpers Knee

  • Grade 1: When the knee only hurts after training
    • You can continue with your routine, but should apply cold therapy (ice) to the knee (point of pain) after workouts.
    • Use a knee support. (to support the tendon and keep the knee warm during training)
    • Exercises to strength quadriceps and patella tendon. For example slow leg extension with or without weights. (more than 20 repetitions per set... no heavy weights)
    • Consult a sports injury specialist and / or therapist. What he can do:...
      • Anti-inflammatory medication.
      • Ultrasound or laser treatment.
      • Massage techniques.
      • Rehab program.

  • Grade 2: Pain before and after training (reduces when warmed up)
    • Change your routine to reduce the load on the tendon.
    • Stop jumping or sprinting activities and replace them with steady running or swimming / running in water if necessary.
    • Consult a sports injury specialist and / or therapist.

  • Grade 3: Too much pain for training. (can't concentrate on your training becasue of the pain)
    • Stop your current routine. You can swim and cycle instead.
    • Consult your doctor.
    • Massage techniques.
    • Start a rehabilitation program. Stretching, strengthening etc.

  • Grade 4: Pain during the whole day.
    • Rest 2 to 3 month.
    • Consult your doctor.
    • Massage techniques.
    • Start rehabilitation immediately.
    • If the knee does not respond to anything, surgery may be necessary.
      • Excision of the affected area of the tendon or lateral release where small cuts are made at the sides of the patellar tendon. This takes off pressure. (please don´t try this at home) Of course a surgery should be your last choice. After a surgery it will take you at least 6 month or a year untill you can go back to normal training. Long rest time, intensive rehabilitation and strengthening program etc. etc. etc.

Trainer advice: Jumpers Knee

  • Warm up and stretch before you work out.
  • Work with weights from time to time. If you work with weights to regenrate you degenrated patellar tendon, you should work with 20 repetitions or more. If you only do 5 repetition or less per set, you will probably make your jumpers knee even worse.

Videos: Jumpers Knee

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