Jumpers Knee Or Patellar Tendonitis
Jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis is caused by sudden jumping movements during running, skipping or climbing. You can be prone to it if your BMI is on the higher side of your hip and knee muscles are not strong or flexible to bear weight.
Your surgeon will thoroughly diagnose your knee to recommend the right knee treatment. Typically, the symptoms of jumpers’ knees subside with conservative treatment such as RICE methods, NSAIDs, braces, or physical therapy.
However, if knee tendons or especially patellar tendons are injured, you may be indicated a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair the patellar tendon.
Frequent jumping on hard surfaces causes Patellar Tendonitis, also called Jumper’s knee. Jumper’s knee is a condition when the patellar tendon that joins the patella to the shinbone(tibia) becomes inflamed. Overuse or sudden jumping strokes is what usually cause tendon inflammation which, if untreated, leads to tendon tears.
Here is the anatomy of the knee to explain how jumpers’ knees occur.
The knee has three main components: Femur, Tibia, and Patella( knee cap). These knee components are joined with connective tissues, i.e. tendons, meniscus, and ligaments. The patellar tendon connects the patella to the shinbone. Jostling jumping movements, unprepared movements, or knee flex can cause injury to the patellar tendon, as a response to which it becomes inflamed.
It is usually a sports-related injury, and sprinters, basketball players, or footballers are more prone to having it.
Other Causes Of Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s knee occurs due to forced knee movement. But there are some other causes too that can make you prone to having them.
- Excess body weight- If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is above average, then your knees have to take excess body weight. While running or jumping, the knee has to bear force from both sides, which is ーhit by the ground and body weight due to gravity. Therefore, excess body weight makes us prone to jumper’s knees.
- Focal weakness– If your hip and thigh muscles are not strong enough to take your body weight, the knee will take the excess stress to compensate for it. This, in turn, stresses the patella, patellar tendon, and meniscus that protect the knee from dislocation, rupture, or damage.
- Flexibility– The knee flexibility is always in context to smooth knee joint movements as well as the flexibility of knee muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Therefore, if any of these components lack flexibility, you may suffer from tendon damage.
Typically, the symptoms of patellar tendonitis start with dim patellar pain along with the following:
- Tenderness on the patellar part
- Patellar Inflammation
- Pain while running, walking, or cycling.
- Pain and tenderness on the lower part of the patella.
You may not have all these symptoms, but there are chances of getting more than two symptoms in each case.
Patellar tendonitis treatment
The path to correct treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. This will include knowing your medical history, a physical examination, and ruling out the possibility of other knee disorders. The doctor might also ask for other tests that include necessary scans and MRI to better visualise the knee joint condition.
Once he is clear with the diagnosis, he chalks out the right treatment plan. For convenience, complete knowledge of the level of your knee injury is most important for the treatment. Depending on the symptoms, patellar tendonitis is classified into the following levels.
STAGE 1: Knee pain after activity
STAGE 2: Knee pain during and activity. The athlete can move their legs satisfactorily.
STAGE 3: Strong knee pain and inflammation. Athletes will refrain from leg movements.
STAGE 4: Knee pain, knee inflammation, and tendon tears.
| Do You Know!
Jumpers’ Knee is often confused with runners’ knee, where they both are different. Jumpers’ knee occurs due to high intensity jumping strokes that cause patellar tendon inflammation,
Whereas, Runners’ knee occurs when knee overuse is due to running. jogging or knee flex causes the knee cap to veer off the patellar groove.
Also Read: Ligaments And Meniscus Injury: An Overview
The first line of treatment is to stop activities that hurt the knee joint. Patellar tendonitis treatment is prescribed depending on the intensity of injury, which may include:
- RICE Method
RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This is the first-line treatment needed to subdue pain and inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory medications NSAIDs
Non-steroidial Anti Inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen ad naproxen are prescribed for pain and inflammation management.
- Corticosteroid Injections
If NSAIDs don’t work, corticosteroid injections can be prescribed for pain management. Cortisone shots are given directly on the inflamed patellar tendon to relieve inflammation and reduce pain.
- Physical Therapy
It is the most important part of treatment to restore knee mobility. Physical therapy is a care program that helps ease pain and mobility. It comprises a specific exercise conservative therapy that helps preserve knee mobility and optimally restore its functionality. The physician and physical therapist can help athletes return to sports competitions by practising sports-specific training exercises.
- Braces And Crutches
The braces and crutches will support the knee in the initial phases of knee rehabilitation. Therefore, if you are prescribed braces or crutches, even if you can walk without them, do wear them as they will prevent and redistribute excess pressure on your lower legs.
- Surgical Knee Tendon Repair Through Arthroscopy
In stage 4 patellar tendonitis, when the patellar tendon has torn, it is repaired through surgery. The repair is done through arthroscopy while trying to preserve the natural biomechanics of the knees. Therefore it is also called knee preservation surgery.
For best sports injury treatment, consult Dr Rik Kundra, a highly experienced orthopaedic surgeon with almost two decades of experience in orthopaedics. He has a special interest in knee preservation, biological knee reconstruction or complex knee disorders. So, embrace the zealous active life again with the best of Dr Rik Kundra’s jumpers knee treatment.
All content and media on this page are created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Meet Dr. Rik personally for appropriate medical diagnosis and advice.