Too much jumping without adequate rest in sports can lead to some problems. One of these is patellar tendinits, or jumper’s knee, which is a painful overuse injury to the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia).
The injury can occur in athletes of any sport, but those who participate in sports with a significant amount of jumping—like basketball, volleyball, high jump and soccer—are at an increased risk of developing jumper’s knee. This is due to the fact that all the jumping, landing and changing direction necessary in these sports can strain or damage the patellar tendon and eventually lead to further complications.
In effect, this stress on the tendon creates small tears, and over time, too many of these tears can cause symptoms. Typical symptoms of jumper’s knee are pain just below the kneecap, stiffness in the knee (especially while jumping, kneeling or climbing stairs), pain in the thigh muscles (quadriceps) or weakness in the legs or calves. When this pain progresses too far, it can come to a point where it interferes with sporting activities and simply getting around in daily life.
Some athletes may regard jumper’s knee as a minor injury that they can work through and that it will resolve itself, but sadly this is not the case. Jumper’s knee is a serious injury, and pushing through the pain will only lead to larger tears and more pain, which will become even more difficult to treat.
If you’re experiencing knee pain and these symptoms sound familiar, it may be jumper’s knee. The good news is you can take steps to treat it, and we can help:
- Rest from any activity or modify your training to significantly limit the amount of jumping or impact you put on your knees
- Ice your knee after participating and elevate it any time it hurts
- Wear a knee or support or strap below your kneecap while playing, which will minimize pain and relieve strain on the patellar tendon
- Visit us for additional treatment. Treatment will include the following:
- Manual therapy
- Stretching exercises to reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility
- Strengthening exercises for your quadriceps and calves, which will build leg strength and help prevent further injury
- Education on how to best return to sports in a gradual manner that’s based on your abilities as they return
If you rest, modify your activities and see a physical therapist, chances are high you’ll be able to return to sports eventually without any additional symptoms. If you’re involved in a jumping sport or are experiencing any pain in your knees, visit Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates at either or our two locations in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC. Call 704-471-0001 for more information or to schedule an appointment.