Best 5 Exercises Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s knee or patella tendinopathy (frequently called tendonitis) is a common injury associated with the patella tendon (kneecap tendon). It is often seen in athletes who participate in jumping sports, running and weightlifters. This injury often occurs between the ages of 18 – 30 and mostly affects males who have an active lifestyle. Most people we see at Surrey Physio complain of a pain just below the kneecap and find it worsens 24 hrs after significant activity. Other symptoms may include sitting with a bent knee for long periods, warm up pain and other activities such as running and squatting. It affects the tendon of the kneecap and can be debilitating and reduce sporting performance.
The knee joint comprises mainly of three bones the thigh bone (femur) and the lower leg bone (tibia) and patella (the kneecap). Movement of the knee is produced by strong muscles that surround the knee called the hamstrings and quadricep muscles. These muscles are held in place by tendons which attach to bony landmarks. The quadricep muscle (front of thigh) forms into the patella tendon which overlaps the kneecap and attaches to a bony prominence on the top of the shin bone (tibial tuberosity). Tendons act as an anchor on bone for muscles to provide movement, such as straightening and bending the knee.
Tendonitis mostly occurs when there is an increase, change or repetitive activity. Most people are aware of subtle changes to their activity and do not understand why they have these symptoms. Other factors such as reduced flexibility of the quadricep muscles, exercising on hard surfaces, footwear and being overweight can result in jumper’s knee. The mechanism stems from the changes in the fibre of the tendon which do not adapt well to changes in activity quickly. Micro damages occur due to the changes in load eventually causing pain. Unlike muscles tendons need specific stimulus to adapt and get stronger.
Tendonitis often does not go away on its own if you do not make any changes to your activity and it requires physiotherapy. Treatment for patella tendonitis involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and sometimes medication. Rest is important to allow the inflamed tendon to heal. This may involve avoiding activities that aggravate the knee, such as running or jumping. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage pain and inflammation. This may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or in more severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation.
At Surrey Physio we see these types of injuries daily and are well equipped to deal with them. Jumper’s knee requires a look into your activities and a personalised program to strengthen the patella tendon. We used up to date research on exercises and treatments to help you return to sports quickly. We provide treatments such as Shockwave therapy which has been shown along with exercises to improve outcomes. Acupuncture can also help a lot, as well as deep tissue massage and stretching to the quadricep muscle group.
If you feel you may have jumpers’ knee please get in contact, we provide an in-depth examination and look at your movement mechanics to better prescribe the correct exercises. In the meantime, please see below for the best exercises for jumper’s knee.
Pull your foot towards your bottom. If you are unsteady on your feet, make sure you hold on to something sturdy next to you like a wall or a table. You will feel a stretch to the quadricep muscles at the front of your thigh.
VMO Inner range quadriceps sitting
Sit on the floor, and place a rolled up towel under your knee. Tighten your thigh (quadriceps) muscle and lift your heel. You should be pressing your knee against the towel. As your leg straightens, it does not fully lift off the floor (only your foot lifts off the floor). Slowly return to the start position.
Strengthen your quadriceps with a band sitting
Sit down, bend your knee and put an exercise band around the sole of your foot. Straighten the leg against resistance. You will feel the front thigh (quadriceps) muscles working.
VMO Double leg inner range quadriceps with band
Stand up, and tie an exercise band around a table leg and the other end around the back of your knees. Your feet should be facing forwards, knees slightly bent, and make sure the band is taut. Keeping your hips knees and feet in line, straighten your legs against the resistance of the band, and slowly return to the starting position.
Quarter wall squat single leg
Stand with your back resting against a wall, and bend your knee to the 1/4 squat position. You can either go up or down, or hold the down position. Make sure you keep the middle of your knee-cap in line with the middle toes of your foot.
Patella tendonitis is a common overuse injury that affects the knee. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and sometimes medication, while prevention involves taking steps to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. If you are experiencing knee pain or other symptoms of patella tendonitis, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
(Therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com. If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).