Jumper’s Knee (Patellar tendinitis) is a common overuse injury of the patellar tendon of the knee. It has been called this as it typically affects athletes involved with sports which are associated with running, repeated jumping and landing, and kicking.
The patella (kneecap) is the moveable bone on the front of the knee. This unique bone is wrapped inside a tendon that connects the large muscles on the front of the thigh, the quadriceps muscles, to the tibia lower leg bone. Repetitive strain causes pain and swelling at the front of the knee below the knee cap which is felt when the knee is bent or straightened. This area can be very tender to touch and if left untreated, the tendon can get weak (tendonitis) and tears can occur.
Symptoms vary from pain under the kneecap only after exercise to pain on everyday activities.
Diagnosis begins with a complete history of your knee problem followed by an examination of the knee, including the patella. There is usually tenderness with palpation of the inflamed tissues at the insertion of the tendon into the bone. We will assess for range of motion, strength, flexibility and joint stability.
As well as looking at the knee itself, as osteopaths we are trained to look for the underlying problems such as issues with the quadriceps muscles, foot biomechanics or training techniques.
Treatment: In the first instance, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol can help to alleviate the discomfort although NSAIDs have been reported to impede healing. If the symptoms are becoming more persistent or severe it is worth consulting coming to see us and we can provide hands-on treatment as well as advice on exercise and training regimes.
The hands on treatment focuses on soft tissue massage to the quadricep muscles, stretching tight hip flexors and improving hamstring and gluteal strength.
The vast majority of patients who suffer from patella tendinopathy are able to return to their previous activity levels once they have recovered from their symptoms but as with so many problems, it’s worthwhile continuing with a programme of exercise to protect the area and prevent a recurrence of the injury.