Patellar tendinitis or in order words- Jumper’s knee is a painful condition on the knee which involves inflammation of the patellar tendon- a tendon that connects your kneecap to the shinbone.
This condition is most commonly found in athletes or players involved in high impact or jumping sports and activities such as basketball or volleyball, however it can also occur in patients that are not participating in such activities.
Jumper’s knee Symptoms:
Pain over the patellar tendon is usually the first symptom.
You can feel tenderness on the tendon
Pain gets worse with quadriceps contraction
Any activities involving jumping or squatting make the pain worse!
Gradually, it can be difficult to perform sports without pain
You can also see some swelling under your knee
Activities like stair climbing can trigger the pain
As the condition worsens, you can have pain with repetitive activities or even getting up from a chair can be painful
Jumper’s knee Causes:
In the beginning, there is inflammation of the Patellar tendon- the tendon that runs from patella to our shinbone. Playing high demands sports like jumping, playing basketball or volleyball or long distance running, there is overloading of our quadriceps muscle and our patellar gets small tears in it. This causes the tendon to be inflamed.
When this condition becomes chronic, the inflammation subsides however there occurs degenerative changes in this tendon. This is known as Patellar tendinopathy or Patellar tendinosis.
How to treat Jumper’s knee
Activity modification: The first thing to do in the acute stage is to reduce the activities that put a lot of stress on the knee joint, for example, jumping and squatting. Relative rest from such activities is recommended to reduce overloading of quads
Jumper’s knee brace: A patellar tendon strap can be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. This brace compresses the area directly below our knee joint- where our patellar tendon is lying. This will help to offload stress on our knee joint.
Cryotherapy: Applying ice for 10-15 minutes 2-4 times every day over the patellar tendon helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, eventually assisting with reduction in pain.
Other simple ways such as taking anti-inflammatory, or pain meds can be helpful.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapists can help with the condition because they can assist in managing your pain and inflammation in the tendon.
Physiotherapists start with performing an assessment and will perform special tests to confirm the diagnosis, will create a treatment plan and select measures to track your progress.
They will provide education about the condition, self-management techniques related to it, precautions that need to be taken and prognosis.
They provide treatment with a variety of techniques including soft tissue releases, manual manipulations, passive stretching to release the tight structures.
Other techniques are also used such as ultrasound and laser therapy, electrotherapy to help manage pain.
Physiotherapists will create a home exercise program tailored specifically for your condition to manage your symptoms.