Jumper’s Knee? Try the Following Exercises!

24th June 2019
The so-called jumper's knee is a typical injury in sports that involve jumping such as basketball. Patellar tendinitis can be prevented and treated with different techniques.

Patellar tendinitis, better known as jumper’s knee, is an injury that affects the connecting tendon between the kneecap and tibia. In the following article, we’ll share some advice and exercises that can help you treat it.

What do you know about jumper’s knee?

The scientific name for this ailment is patellar tendinitis, although everyone calls it jumper’s knee. It affects the patellar ligament, which is responsible for connecting the muscles of the front of the thigh and it also plays a role in extending the knee while running, jumping or kicking.

This injury is more frequent in athletes who practice sports such as volleyball and basketball. However, it can also appear in athletes who practice soccer, gymnastics, athletics, running, and tennis.

Patellar tendinitis is an injury that’s caused by frequent overuse of the knee joint. The tension generated by physical effort causes small tears in the tendon that the body cannot repair.

The main symptoms are pain under the kneecaps when bending the knee (e.g when sitting, standing, or climbing stairs), inflammation of the knee joint and stiffness.

Tips for treating the condition

If the pain doesn’t allow you to move your leg normally, you’ll need to see a doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell you the appropriate treatment and how to prevent the condition from worsening. Here are some tips that can help you avoid, treat and reduce symptoms related to jumper’s knee.

Don’t train in pain

If you feel stiffness, inflammation or pain, don’t engage in physical exerciseIt’s best to use an ice pack and rest your leg. Wait until the symptoms are relieved before carrying out the exercise.

Perform strengthening exercises

The best way to avoid this condition is to have strong muscles. Ask your trainer to set up a special routine to help strengthen your lower extremities.

Jumper's knee

Rest

Rest is key when it comes to repairing micro tears that occur in muscles and tendons. Therefore, one of the causes of patellar tendinitis is overtraining. Don’t train every day, including rest days in your routine and try to sleep for at least eight hours every night

Massages

Physiotherapy can be very beneficial, not only as a treatment but also as prevention. There are different techniques to strengthen the knee area, consult a professional to find out what’s the most appropriate physiotherapy for your case.

Practice swimming

Swimming is a great way to recover from injuries. The effect of water on the kneecap is also positive, it helps to strengthen and increase mobility.

Wear the right footwear

Did you know that one of the triggers of jumper’s knee is not wearing the right footwear? If you’re a runner, choose shoes that are appropriate for the surface. For example, you should not have the same shoes for running up a mountain and running on the grass.

Warm up and stretch

This is essential to prevent injuries and pain. Warming up and stretching will only take you 10 minutes.

Exercising ‘cold’ can lead you to pull your quadricep muscles when extending your knee. If you don’t stretch after exercising, your muscles will not be able to rest properly.

Exercises to treat jumper’s knee

If you suffer from patella tendinitis, we recommend that you consult a doctor in order for them to offer you the most appropriate exercises to stretch and strengthen the area. Some examples are:

Banded squats

This exercise is very effective for strengthening the knees and quadriceps. Use an elastic band, which you can place on a vertical bar or a machine at the gym. If you want to perform the exercise without support, you can place the band below your knees as seen in the image.

Woman band squats jumper's knee

Your legs should always be together. In order to perform the exercise, bend your knees and descend. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight at all times.

Quadricep training

The training can be done at any time of the day, not just when you finish working out. It’ll help you stretch and strengthen your knees.

In order to begin, stand with both of your feet together, bend your right leg and bring your heel as close your glutes as possible. You can use your right hand to hold your leg. Your left hand can be used to improve balance. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Woman stretching to prevent jumper's knee

With these simple exercises, you’ll be able to reduce the pain caused by jumper’s knee or patellar tendinitis. Remember that, if you experience symptoms, you should consult a professional quickly in order to relieve the pain and reduce recovery time.

  • Ugalde, P. B., Briceño, M. C., & Navarrete, C. G. (2016). Tendinitis rotuliana (rodilla del saltador).  Revista Médica de Costa Rica y Centroamérica LXXIII.