Jumper’s Knee is a term used to describe Patellar Tendonitis. Patients with Jumper’s knee usually present with knee pain near the patella and along the front of the knee. This pain usually increases with jumping and running activities and decreases with rest.
The patellar tendon is what joins the quadriceps muscle to shin bone. It attaches at the patella (knee cap) and at the shin bone. When the quadriceps muscle contracts it pulls on the patellar tendon which straightens the knee. Jumper’s Knee occurs when there is inflammation and irritation of this tendon due to excessive stress, too much or poor training as well as overuse of the quadriceps muscle.
Jumper's knee occurs in many types of athletes but is most common in sports such as basketball, volleyball, or soccer, which require explosive jumping movements. Eccentric loading, which is contraction of the muscle while it is lengthening, occurs when landing from a jump or decelerating. In fact, knee loads up to 7 times body weight occur in a soccer player during kicking and between 9 and 11 times body weight occur in volleyball players during landing. These eccentric loads are thought to be the primary cause of overload in jumper's knee.
Conservative treatment of this condition includes hamstring strengthening and flexibility, VMO (vastus medialis obliquus) activation, hip flexibility and strengthening, myofascial (muscle) release of tight/ overactive muscles as well as foot exercises. Laser therapy is also very effective at decreasing inflammation and accelerating the healing process. Jumping, landing, running and quick changes in direction involve using muscles of the entire lower extremity so training and evaluation should include everything from the core down to the foot.
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