Jumper's knee is an overuse condition, also called patellar tendinitis, tendinopathy or tendinosis, where the area of attachment of the patellar tendon to the patella becomes painful.
Management of jumper's knee
The condition is hard to treat and frustrating for both patient and doctor.
- Although stopping the 'overuse' activitity is the best approach to arresting deterioration, this is often a major problem as it so often occurs in people who concentrate on a particular sport or activity and may earn their living from it, eg basketball or ballet.
- A local patellar strap worn during exercise is likely to be helpful (eg. ChoPat strap).
- Attention to the period of exercise is important in the early stages - increased warm-up time and icing the knee after exercise - but may prove ineffective if the condition is advanced
- Friction massage is likely to be helpful to reduce the swelling and adhesions that are pulling on the tendon.
- Attention should be paid to strengthening the quads with mini-squats or eccentric isokinetic exercise and stretching both quads and hamstrings
- Infiltrating the 'inflammation' with anti-inflammatory injections, such as steroids, is not likely to help as inflammation is not the true process, although injecting along the outside of the tendon ('paratenon') may. There is some suggestion that infiltrating the tendon itself with steroids (eg cortisone) may further weaken it.
- Surgically cutting out the damaged portion may be effective in settling the condition.
Patellar tendinopathy in young elite soccer– clinical and sonographical analysis of a German elite soccer academy. Bode G, Hammer T, Karvouniaris N, Feucht MJ, Konstantinidis L, Südkamp NP and Hirschmüller A. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017; 18: 344.