Patellar Tendonitis also known as Jumper’s knee
At the beginning, some musculoskeletal conditions may look too minor to require medical attention. Therefore, you may ignore them until they turn into debilitating injuries. Jumpers knee also known as patellar tendonitis is one of those conditions, which affects one in every five jumping athletes. If this condition is left untreated, it could become chronic and may even require surgery. Hence, an early Physiotherapy is needed to prevent more serious consequences, resolve your condition, and restore your normal activities.
What is Patellar Tendonitis?
The patella or kneecap is a small bone located in front of your knee. It is attached to your shin bone by the patellar tendon. When the knee is extended, the quadriceps muscle of your thigh pulls on the patella. Then, the patella pulls on the patellar tendon and the shin bone which allows the knee to straighten. Overuse of this tendon and the following micro tears lead to a condition called jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis. This condition requires precise assessment and careful treatment to reduce the period of complete recovery.
Causes of jumper’s knee
The repetitive stress placed on your patellar or quadriceps tendons is believed to cause most of the Jumper’s knee cases. Activities such as basketball, gymnastics, running, track and field, and soccer which require abrupt changing direction and continuous jumping and landing may lead to jumper’s knee. In fact, knee loads, up to 7 to 10 times the body weight, occur in soccer players during kicking, and volleyball players during landing.
Symptoms of jumper’s knee
The main symptom of patellar tendonitis is a pain at the bottom front of the patella. The area is tender when pressed. You may feel pain and stiffness after exercise. Moreover, contracting the main muscle of your thigh (quadriceps) could be painful. You may also notice the warmth and swelling of the affected area. Bending the knee and some jumping activities may produce much pain. This condition is divided into four grades:
- Grade 1: After-training pain
- Grade 2: Before and after training pain that relieves after warm-up exercises
- Grade 3: Hindering pain during training
- Grade 4: Daily constant pain
How to prevent jumper’s knee?
In order to avoid jumper’s knee, you need to have a good warm-up before activities. This should include stretching the quadriceps, hamstring, and calf muscles. It is strongly recommended to do the same after exercising.
Treatment of jumper’s knee
Your Physiotherapist may employ a combination of procedures to manage your condition:
- Rest: The quality and quantity of rest are determined by the severity of your condition.
- Cryotherapy: Icing is crucial to reduce the swelling and pain especially during the acute phase. A gel ice pack is ideal.
- Minimum-impact strengthening and stretching exercises: Quadriceps muscles, located on the front of your knee, should be stretched regularly to become longer resulting in less pressure on the tendon.
- Supports / Straps: A knee strap wraps just below the knee changing the part of the tendon the forces are transmitted.
- Custom Orthotics or arch supports: To improve foot and leg stability
- Medications: NSAIDs
- Ultrasound to decrease pain and stimulate healing
- Cold Laser to decrease pain and reduce inflammation or swelling
- Massage therapy to loosen up surrounding musculature such as the quadraceps, iliotibial band, or the patellar tendon itself
- Activity modification
- Biomechanics assessment
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Don’t let your knees bring you to your knees!
At Ace Physio our expert Physiotherapists will evaluate your jumper’s knee problem, treat your pain and symptoms, and assist with correcting the underlying biomechanical faults for long-term prevention. Don’t put off waiting for your knee pain to get worse, instead book an appointment with a Registered Physiotherapist now call 416-900-6653