Jumper's Knee (Patellar Tendonitis)

Jumper's knee, also known as patellar tendinopathy or patellar tendonitis, is a common overuse injury that affects the patellar tendon, which connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone). It is an activity-related anterior knee pain and is a condition often seen in athletes, especially those involved in sports that require frequent jumping and explosive movements, such as basketball, volleyball, and track and field.

This condition is seen in up to 20% of jumping athletes, and affects males more than females.

The main symptom of jumper's knee is pain in the front of the knee, just below the patella. This pain is usually aggravated by activities that involve jumping, running, or squatting. Over time, the pain may become more persistent and interfere with daily activities. Other common symptoms of jumper's knee include:

  • Tenderness and swelling around the patellar tendon.
  • Stiffness in the knee.
  • Weakening of the quadriceps muscles (the muscles on the front of the thigh).
  • Aching or sharp pain with activity.

The primary cause of jumper's knee is repetitive stress and overuse of the patellar tendon. This excessive stress can lead to small tears in the tendon and a breakdown of the collagen fibers that make up the tendon structure. Factors that contribute to the development of this condition may include:

  • Frequent jumping and landing on a hard surface.
  • Insufficient warm-up or improper technique.
  • Muscle imbalances or weaknesses in the thigh muscles.
  • Inadequate rest and recovery.

The diagnosis is primarily made clinically with tenderness to palpation at the distal pole of patella in full extension. Sometimes, we may ask you to do investigations like X-ray, ultrasound and very rarely an MRI scan of the knee

Treatment for jumper's knee typically involves a combination of conservative measures, including:

  • Rest: Reducing or avoiding activities that aggravate the condition is essential to allow the tendon to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Compression: Wearing a knee brace or bandage can provide support and reduce strain on the tendon.
  • Elevation: Elevating the affected leg when at rest can help reduce swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Specific exercises and stretching routines can improve muscle strength and flexibility, as well as promote proper biomechanics.
  • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or other advanced treatments in some cases.

In severe cases that do not respond to conservative treatment, more invasive interventions, such as corticosteroid injections or surgery, may be considered. However, these options are typically reserved for cases that do not improve with non-surgical methods.

Preventing jumper's knee involves using proper techniques and equipment in sports, maintaining balanced muscle strength, and allowing adequate rest and recovery between activities. If you suspect you have jumper's knee or are experiencing knee pain, it's essential to consult us for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Stay Connected With Us