What is Jumper's Knee?
Jumper's knee, also known as “patellar tendinitis" is an inflammation of the patellar tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. This tendon helps in extension of the lower leg.
Causes of Jumper's Knee
Jumper's knee usually results from repetitive trauma or overuse, particularly from sports activities involving jumping such as basketball or volleyball. Therefore, this condition is also known as jumper's knee. Rarely, this condition may also occur because of an acute injury to the tendon that has not healed properly.
Symptoms of Jumper's Knee
Pain over the patellar tendon is the first symptom of Jumper's knee. You may also have pain during activities, especially jumping or kneeling. Rarely, swelling around the tendon may be seen.
Diagnosis of Jumper's Knee
Your doctor will evaluate your condition based on your symptoms and physical examination. X-ray of the knee may be taken to make sure there is no problem involving the bones or a bone spur around the knee. An MRI scan can reveal degenerative changes in the patellar tendon.
Conservative Treatment Options for Jumper's Knee
Treatment options for Jumper's knee include:
- Rest the injured knee and avoid activities such as running and jumping that worsen the condition.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to provide relief from pain and swelling associated with patellar tendinitis.
- Stretching out before exercising is important to prevent recurrence of patellar tendinitis. These exercises can also help strengthen the patellar tendon and nearby muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
- Application of ice to the affected area helps to control the inflammation and reduce the swelling.
- A knee support or strap (called an intrapatellar strap or a Chopat strap) can be worn to relieve pain by directing the force away from your tendon.
- Iontophoresis, a technique where a topical corticosteroid medication is applied to the affected area with the help of a small device that uses an electric charge to deliver the medication through your skin.
- Corticosteroid injection administered under ultrasound guidance may be given directly into the sheath around the affected patellar tendon. This helps to relieve pain and enable you to perform strengthening exercises without any pain.
In rare cases such as when there is persistent pain despite of the other treatment options, surgery may be considered. Surgery involves removal of the severely damaged parts of your tendon and repair of any tears in the tendon.