Jumpers Knee – Patellar Tendinopathy

Jumper’s knee, also known as patellar tendinopathy, is a condition among young athletes involved in activities that require repetitive jumping, landing and change in direction, such as basketball, Aussie rules football, netball and track and field. It is characterised by pain and tenderness at the inferior pole of the patella or the patellar tendon attachment.

The causes of jumper’s knee are multifactorial. It is primarily an injury resulting from repetitive stress on the patellar tendon. This can occur due to factors such as excessive load (jumping, running etc), vast changes in training intensity or volume, poor landing mechanics, or inadequate recovery between training sessions. These forces can lead to micro-trauma and subsequent pain.

Management of jumper’s knee typically involves a combination of conservative treatment approaches, which may include:

  1. Activity modification: Reducing or modifying activities that aggravate the condition is important to allow for healing and pain reduction. This may involve temporarily reducing or modifying the intensity, frequency, or duration of impact-related activities.
  2. Patellar tendon loading: Gradual and progressive loading of the patellar tendon through exercises such as isometric holds, heavy slow resistance training, and plyometric exercises can help promote tendon adaptation and strengthen the tissue.
  3. Strengthening exercises: Exercises targeting the quadriceps, hip abductors, gluteal muscles and the posterior chain can address any muscle imbalances and improve overall lower limb biomechanics. Eccentric strengthening exercises can also be used. These exercises involve slowly lowering the body or a weight while lengthening the patellar tendon. They help promote tendon healing and improve its ability to tolerate load.
  4. Flexibility and mobility exercises: Stretching exercises for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles can help address muscle imbalances and tightness that contribute to the condition.
  5. Biomechanical assessment: Identifying and correcting any biomechanics factors that contribute to excessive stress on the patellar tendon, such as poor landing mechanics or foot pronation, may require gait analysis and footwear modifications.
  6. Gradual return to sport: A structured and progressive return-to-sport program should be implemented, ensuring that the athlete has regained strength, flexibility, and functional stability before resuming full activity.

It is important for athletes with jumper’s knee to receive proper assessment and Individualised treatment plans, tailored to the athlete’s specific needs and goals to facilitate a safe and successful return to sports participation.

Book a consultation if you are suffering from any any pain.

TPC Team

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