Jumper’s knee stopping you in your tracks?

Hey there, are you feeling the burn in your knee and wondering what the heck is going on?

Well, let me tell you, it sounds like you might have a little case of patella tendinopathy, also known as jumper’s knee.

But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with all the deets on what this knee condition is, how it happens, and most importantly, how to fix it.

So, what is patella tendinopathy exactly? It’s when the patellar tendon, the little bugger that connects your kneecap to your shinbone, gets damaged. And this damage is usually caused by overuse or repetitive stress, like when you’re dominating the basketball court or running marathons. The most common ages for this condition are between 30-50 and unfortunately, it’s more common in men.

Now that we know what it is, let’s talk about how to fix it.

Rehabilitation for patella tendinopathy has three phases: the acute phase, the subacute phase, and the chronic phase.

The acute phase:

This is all about reducing pain and inflammation. During this phase you may need a couple of days to rest the affected area and even ice it to reduce the pain. After a couple of days without any intense physical activity we want to start re-loading the tendon. We start this by introducing isometric exercises and working within a low pain range of 3-4/10. If any isometric exercises, or any exercises in general, are exceeding that 4/10 pain range, then it’s time to back off and reduce the intensity.

The subacute phase:

Is about starting to get back to normal activity and doing exercises that will strengthen the affected area. This includes exercises like squats, leg presses, and leg extensions. Physical therapy will also focus on flexibility and balance. These exercises will be mix a mixture of concentric and eccentric exercises. 

The chronic phase:

The final stretch and it’s all about maintaining the progress you’ve made and getting back to your full activity level or returning to sport. Physical therapy will focus on exercises that mimic the movements of your specific sport or activity for example, if you’re a basketball player there is a lot of stop/start movement so we may add in some deceleration exercises to help the tendon. 

The good news is that the prognosis for patella tendinopathy is generally positive and most people make a full recovery. But, recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the condition and how the individual responds to treatment. In some cases, it may take several months to fully recover.

Now, let’s talk about treatment options. Active rest, ice, physical therapy such as exercises or manual therapy, and over the counter pain meds (during acute phase) are all great options. You can also try a knee brace to support the patellar tendon, and corticosteroid injections are an option if the pain is unbearable but I prefer to manage the area conservatively before jumping the gun.

In conclusion, patella tendinopathy is a knee condition caused by overuse or repetitive stress. It can be treated through a three-phase rehabilitation process and has a generally positive prognosis. So, if you’re feeling that burn in your knee, don’t wait, seek medical attention, you don’t want to miss out on dominating the court or running your next marathon.

Written by Nick Dimakis (Chiropractor)