Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) is an injury involving the tendon that connects your kneecap (patella) and your shinbone (tibia). Your patellar tendon and your front thigh muscles work together to allow your knee to extend so that you can do things like jump, kick, and run.
As the name suggests, people who play jumping sports like basketball and volleyball are most susceptible to developing a jumper’s knee. But people who participate in other sports can also be at risk, such as soccer players and cyclists.
This article will discuss the signs, symptoms, and treatments for jumper’s knees.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The first indicator that you have a jumper’s knee is pain that is most commonly felt between your kneecap and where your patellar tendon connects to your tibia.
At first, you might only feel pain when you start with physical activity or immediately after a strenuous workout. However, the pain will worsen as time goes on, and it can begin to affect how you perform in your sport. If it gets bad enough, the pain will impact your daily activities and make it difficult and painful to do things like climb stairs or stand up after sitting in a chair.
To treat your knee pain, you can try home remedies first without seeing a doctor. You should ice your knee and limit or avoid movements and activities that set off your knee pain.
However, you should contact your doctor if your knee pain gets worse or doesn’t get better, negatively impacts your daily life, or if you notice redness or swelling.
What are the treatments?
Most likely, your first move toward treatment will be physical therapy. The purpose of this is to stretch the muscles around your knee and make them stronger.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can temporarily help with your pain.
More invasive procedures are available, including surgery in rare cases if symptoms do not improve with physical therapy, pain management, and avoidance of triggers.
Your doctor can use an ultrasound to guide them in giving you a corticosteroid injection. This injection will help alleviate pain, but you should be aware that it can make your tendons weaker and increase your chances of tendon rupture.
The oscillating needle procedure is a fairly new treatment. Your doctor will give you a local anesthetic, and then, similar to a corticosteroid injection; they will use an ultrasound machine to help them insert a small oscillating needle into your knee. This needle will cut out the damaged part of your tendon but will not impact the healthy parts of your patellar tendon.
If all of these treatments fail to treat you successfully, your doctor might recommend that you undergo debridement surgery, in which your surgeon will remove damaged and torn sections of your tendon. This is an outpatient procedure, so you get to go home the same day, and it only involves a few small incisions.