A brief summary of my (knees') background: I'm 29. I play volleyball quite a bit, or at least used to. I was having really bad knee pain just below (not under) the kneecap. Went a few months without seeing a doctor. They got so bad that I couldn't bend over to pick up something from the ground.
I saw a doctor early January of this year. They said it was patellafemoral and gave me some PT stretches/exercises. I did them, but still played volleyball. 5 months later I had acquired new symptoms (static knee pain while sitting), and the pain had only gone down marginally. Got a second opinion, had an MRI, was told it was tendonosis. Was given 1 PT exercise and told to use patella straps along with Voltaren Gel.
Saw a third doctor. He said to do PT, stay off the legs and vball and gave me a cortisone shot in my left knee (which I regret letting him do). My pain level is reduced significantly, and at least for another 2 weeks I plan on not playing volleyball.
So here's what I think happened: I had patellafemoral syndrome (PFS). That along with continuing volleyball turned into a severe tendonosis. The PT fixed my tracking issue with PFS, but the damage to the tendon had been so bad that I still continued to have pain. Based on some reading I've done, one of the only things that will help the collagen alignment in my tendon is to do eccentric decline squats, which I've been doing. This should help realign the collagen in the tendon and build the strength back up.
My question is, whenever I start being active and jumping again, what should I focus on to help prevent this from happening again. I plan on keeping up with the strengthening and flexibility exercises to keep my tracking normal. But as far as jump form and landing, I'm not entirely sure.
I've read that you should use your calves to help take the initial shock off a jump when landing. Can I start doing exercises now to help with that that won't hurt the tendon while it's healing? If so, what should I do? Or should I focus on landing another way?
As far as jumping, is there a particular way to jump that will help? Should I focus on using more hamstrings and glutes rather than quads? or vice versa? With all the exercises I've been doing, I have a lot more strength in my legs. It's to the point where I can flex and feel muscles at the top of my shin and around my knee. SHould I be flexing these muscles while jumping? Or does that end up doing more harm than good?
I've tried searching this stuff, but all I ever find is vertical jump programs that help you jump higher. Nothing that really focuses on form and injury prevention or injury consideration.
Thanks in advance for any feedback.