Jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury that is caused by from too much running or jumping activities that results in pain at the front of the knee. This pain is generally localized towards the bottom of the kneecap. The actual injury is inflammation or degeneration of the patella tendon, which connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone. The patellar tendon is located at the front of the thigh and working with the muscles, allows the knee to extend for kicking, running and jumping activities.
This week, we will begin an in-depth examination of patellar tendonitis, also known as “Jumper’s knee” due to the injury being associated with athletes who participate in sports such as basketball and various track and field competitions, such as pole vaulting. In Part 1, we will discuss common causes and symptoms, and risk factors for patellar tendonitis.
Patellar tendonitis is caused by repeated stress on the patellar tendon. This common overuse injury stresses the tendon and results in tiny tears in this critical connective tissue. The body attempts to repair these tears, but as the tears in the tendon multiply, they cause pain from inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When this tendon damage persists for more than a few weeks, it's called tendinopathy.
There are some specific symptoms of Patellar tendonitis. These include:
Jumper’s knee is graded 1 to 4 depending on how bad the injury is with grade one being only mild pain after training and a grade four resulting in constant pain.
A combination of factors may contribute to the development of Patellar tendonitis, these include:
Some people may ignore the body's warning signs by trying to work through the pain. This is inadvisable because it could cause increasingly larger tears in the patellar tendon. Knee pain and reduced function can persist, and then may progress to the more serious patellar tendinopathy, which is a more chronic condition.
If you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your knees, don’t wait for your family physician; visit Excel Rehabilitation Services on Burnside Ave. in Gonzales, Louisiana. You will receive personalized care from an experienced, professional physical therapist
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS): http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512
WebMD, Inc.: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/jumpers_knee#1
Picture credit to:http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00512