Jumper’s knee, which is medically termed patellar tendonitis, is a condition where there is inflammation of the patellar tendon. This tendon connects the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone (tibia). The tendon is in coordination with the muscles at the front of the thigh when we extend the knee for kicking, running, and jumping.
This inflammation weakens the tendon, and if not treated on time, it could get torn. Unfortunately, it is pretty standard in athletes involved in sports that require frequent jumping movements.
Symptoms of the jumper’s knee include:
- Pain and soreness around the patellar tendon
- Pain in activities that require extending the knee
- Pain in bending or straightening the leg
- Inflammation behind the lower part of the kneecap.
The common cause of the jumper’s knee, patellar tendonitis, is overuse caused when the patellar tendon is exposed to repeated stressful impacts. This stress leads to small tears in the tendon, which can multiply and cause pain due to inflammation and weakening.
Factors that can lead to the development of this injury are:
- Physical activities such as running and jumping can lead to patellar tendonitis. It can also be caused by drastic changes in the level and duration of activities that can strain the tendon, such as a sudden change of running shoes.
- When the thigh muscles and hamstrings are tight, the stress put on the patellar tendon may increase.
- If specific leg muscles are substantially more robust than others, the stronger muscles may strain the patellar tendon more forcefully. Tendonitis could develop as a result of the unequal pull.
- Some illnesses cause blood flow to the knee to be disrupted, causing the tendon to weaken, such as kidney failure and autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
The non-surgical options of treatment for Patellar Tendonitis can include pain relievers to provide short term pain relief caused by the injury and physical therapy techniques that would facilitate the reduction of symptoms.
Surgical and other measures of treatment can be corticosteroid injection to relieve the pain, platelet-rich plasma injection to help the tendon heal, oscillating needle procedure to cut away the damaged part while preserving the healthy ones, and when all of the above methods fail to treat, the doctor might suggest surgical debridement of the patellar tendon.
Book a consultation with our knee and joint specialist, Dr Debashish Chanda, for more information about the Jumper’s Knee or other joint-related issues.