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What is jumper’s knee?
Jumper’s knee is a frequent type of injury that most often affects athletes who perform activities involving a lot of jumps or kicks. From the thigh muscle (the quadriceps), a large tendon runs across your kneecap and connects to the kneecap on your shin. It is this tendon (the kneecap tendon, ligamentum patellae) that is irritated and damaged when you suffer from jumper’s knee.
## Causes of jumper’s knee
The function of the thigh muscle and the kneecap tendon is to stretch the knee, and they are therefore used extensively for both setting off and landing when jumping and running. The pain is caused by overloading the knee through, for example, repetitious movements that strain the tendon or any kind of increased activity level that exceeds the tolerance of the tissue in the tendon.
With age, the kneecap becomes more rigid and this increases the risk of injury. When the kneecap tendon is overloaded, it becomes inflamed, which consists of a sterile inflammation that produces swelling and soreness in the tendon.
Symptoms of jumper’s knee typically consist of pain in the bottom tip of the kneecap that arises in the beginning and after an activity. The pain usually subsides as the knee is warmed up. Some people will experience pain from performing everyday activities like walking up and down stairs.
It is important to take these symptoms seriously. If they are ignored and the kneecap tendon continues to be overloaded, the injury will become worse.
What you can do to treat jumper’s knee
Jumper’s knee is caused by overloading the knee. The first thing you can do to treat your injury is to avoid performing activities that trigger the pain. Such activities will often be jumping, kicking and running. By relieving your knee, you let your body work on healing the damage.
In addition to relief, it is important that you rehabilitate. If you suffer from jumper’s knee and you would like to return to performing the activities that triggered your injury (e.g. sports), there is no way around rehabilitating exercises.
Rehabilitation in relation to jumper’s knee places special emphasis on slow and heavy strength-building exercises as well as exercises that stretch the thigh muscles. However, it is important that you do not increase the load around your kneecap tendon too quickly. Additional mobility and flexibility exercises should be performed to create the optimal conditions for the kneecap to work in and prevent future injuries.
In the examples below you can see some of the most used exercises in the treatment of jumper’s knee.