Jumper’s Knee: What is it?

Blogs, Knee, Blog, / By Shi Qi Yap

Jumper’s knee is one of the common knee injuries among athletes, especially for those who require jumping, changing direction and stopping from high speed.

In today’s blog, we’re going to share more about Jumper’s knee.

What is Jumper’s Knee?

Jumper’s knee, also known as patellar tendonitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of patellar tendon due to the repeated overuse injury of the patellar tendon.

Patellar tendon is the cord-like tissue that connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone).

Symptoms of Jumper’s knee

  • Tenderness just below the kneecap
  • Swelling at the patellar tendon
  • Pain when climbing stairs, bending knee and jumping.
  • Sharp or throbbing pain during athletic motion

Causes of Jumper’s knee

There are two mechanisms of causing it:

  • Acute Jumper’s knee: Occur from sudden, unexpected overexertion of the patellar tendon.
  • Chronic Jumper’s knee: Over time, overuse of the knee can cause tiny tears to form within the patellar tendon and manifests as recurring chronic jumper’s knee.

For example, a basketball player who repeatedly jumps up and down and overuses patellar tendon through athletic activity. They may experience mini-traumas to the patellar tendon that eventually causes painful knee symptoms. Not enough time between workouts for the patellar tendon to recover is also a contributing factor to Jumper’s knee.

Recovery Phases of Jumper’s knee

Phase 1: Stop exercising and Rest

The goal in this phase is mainly focused on reducing pain and inflammation. Thus, a person in this phase should stop any exercises that could worsen the condition, and give the body time to heal. Ice and some anti-inflammation medication can help in this phase.

In more severe cases, a doctor may suggest wearing a knee brace for 3 to 6 weeks. This will immobilize the joint, allowing the tendon to heal.

Phase 2: Stretching and Mobility

After the pain and swelling have subsided, you may feel some stiffness around the injured area, especially for those wearing knee brace. Some stretching and mobility exercises should be given in order to improve your joint stiffness and regain the full range of motion.

Phase 3: Strengthening

After the full mobility has been restored, you should now begin the strengthening exercises, especially for the knees, hips, buttock and calf muscles. Strong muscles can help you to disperse the force towards the knee, avoid the tendon from overloading, and therefore prevent the re-injury.

We have posted a short video ‘How to do lunges correctly’ on our instagram and youtube. Click here to watch.

If you have any more questions or would like our physiotherapists to assess or treat your problem, feel free to drop us a question or talk to us. Do check out our Instagram page too.

Yap Shi Qi
Rehab Therapist

Shi Qi graduated with Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Hons), awarded by Anglia Ruskin University, UK. Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP®). She practiced as a physiotherapist in a Malaysian private physiotherapy center with a special interest in musculoskeletal and neurological rehabilitation. Her previous experience inspired her to combine active approach along with patients’ education to optimize the rehabilitation outcome in sports related injuries and postural pain.

In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, singing, and playing piano.