Jumper's Knee or Patellar Tendonitis - Causes, Symptoms, and Rehab

Jumper's knee, also known as patellar tendinitis, is a type of overuse injury that affects the tendon that connects the patella (knee cap) to the shin bone. It is common in athletes who engage in activities that involve a lot of jumping, such as basketball, volleyball, and high jump. Symptoms of jumper's knee include pain and tenderness around the patella, swelling, and stiffness in the knee joint.

To rehab jumper's knee, it is important to rest the affected leg and avoid activities that cause pain. Ice can be applied to the knee to help reduce swelling and pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises can also be helpful in the recovery process. In severe cases, physical therapy or surgery may be necessary. It is important to consult with a doctor of physical therapy before starting a rehabilitation program.

Once the pain and swelling have subsided, a rehabilitation program can be started to help strengthen the muscles and tendons around the knee. This may include exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion, as well as strength training exercises to build up the muscles in the leg. It is important to progress slowly and not push yourself too hard, as this can cause further injury.

A physical therapist can help design a personalized rehabilitation program and provide guidance on proper form and technique. They can also help you gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as you progress. It is important to follow your therapist's instructions and attend all scheduled appointments to ensure a successful recovery.

In some cases, jumper's knee may not respond to conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and rehabilitation exercises. In these situations, a doctor may recommend surgical intervention to repair the damaged tendon (but we avoid this as much as possible!!). This can help reduce pain and improve function, but it may also require a longer recovery period and physical therapy to regain strength and mobility.

Overall, the key to rehabilitating jumper's knee is to take a cautious and gradual approach. It is important to rest the knee and avoid activities that cause pain, and to gradually incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine. A doctor of physical therapy can provide guidance and support throughout the rehabilitation process.

Some general guidelines for rehabbing jumper's knee include:

  • Resting the affected leg and avoiding activities that cause pain
  • Applying ice to the knee to help reduce swelling and pain
  • Stretching the muscles in the front of the thigh (quadriceps) and the back of the thigh (hamstrings)
  • Strengthening the muscles in the front of the thigh (quadriceps) and the calf (gastrocnemius)
  • Gradually returning to physical activity, starting with low-impact activities and gradually increasing the intensity and duration
  • Wearing proper footwear and using a knee brace or other supportive devices during physical activity
  • Consulting with a doctor or physical therapist if you have any concerns or experience any worsening of symptoms

It is important to follow your rehabilitation program consistently and to be patient, as it may take several weeks or months for your symptoms to improve. With the right treatment and support, you can recover from jumper's knee and return to your normal activities.

If you live in Utah and have tried rehabbing Jumper's Knee on your own and haven't had success, then you should come in for a free movement assessment and evaluation to see if physical therapy is right for you and to build a plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Click here to schedule your free movement assessment and evaluation today!

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