Jumper's knee is usually a sports-related injury that results from the repeated force of hitting the ground. Constantly contracting the leg muscle strains your tendon and, over time, can cause your tendon to weaken and become inflamed.
Other patellar tendonitis risk factors beyond athletics include:
The first and most common symptom of patellar tendonitis is pain, typically below your kneecap. It often starts as aching in your knee following physical exertion such as playing sports or working out and then can progress to sharp, activity related, stabbing pain. While your symptoms may not always be the same, they can progress to the point where they interfere with everyday movements such as standing up or using stairs.
Other common symptoms of patellar tendonitis include:
The symptoms of jumper's knee may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
The symptoms of patellar tendonitis can appear like other knee injuries and conditions. To accurately diagnose patellar tendonitis, your health care provider may use the following examinations:
Treating patellar tendonitis depends on several factors, including your injury's severity, knee condition, age, and overall health. These options include:
In most cases, treating patellar tendonitis doesn’t require surgical procedures. Common nonsurgical treatment options include:
Although surgical treatment is rare for patellar tendonitis, it may be necessary to repair the damaged tissues in your knee if other treatments fail.
Overall, the best treatment for jumper's knee is to identify the reason for the overload, address this reason and refrain from the activity causing the problem until your injury has healed.
Mass General Brigham Sports Medicine specializes in various nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for patellar tendonitis. Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our Sports Medicine specialists. Same-day telehealth visits are also available in most cases.
There are several steps you can follow to prevent patellar tendinitis, including:
Patellar tendonitis recovery time depends on the severity and need for treatment. Stopping or reducing time playing sports may be necessary. Continuing to do the same activities that caused the injury may do more damage to your patellar tendon.
If you're worried about jumper's knee or have recently recovered from the condition, you can reduce your risk of injury by:
If you need help recovering from and preventing future knee injuries, our team can help you develop a rehabilitation plan that will allow you to regain maximum function and mobility. Our physical therapists design regimens using strength and stretching exercises to help you return to play while minimizing your risk of injury. Request an appointment or call us at 617-726-0500 to learn more.
Jumper’s knee is another name for patellar tendonitis. This injury is caused by repeated jumping motions that strain the patellar tendon over time. Jumper’s knee is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. It's commonly seen in basketball and volleyball players who often jump on hard surfaces.
Runner’s knee and jumper’s knee are not the same injury. Runner’s knee occurs when one of the outside tendons of the knee (Iliotibial band or IT band) rubs over the outside of the femur bone when overused or irritated.
The average recovery time for patellar tendonitis using proper treatment is about six weeks. However, a full recovery can require several months of physical therapy, depending on the injury's severity and your overall health. You may see the pain diminish within a few weeks, but the tear in your tendon requires at least six weeks. Physical therapy, stretching, and treatment are vital to reduce stiffness and pain.
Your body's ability to heal patellar tendonitis depends on your overall health and the severity of your injury. Over-the-counter medications, rest, and ice can reduce pain, swelling, and discomfort for a less severe patellar tendon tear. Refraining from the painful activity is usually the best way to ensure the tear heals appropriately. You may also use a knee brace to mitigate the use of your knee joint.
You may need a guided physical therapy program if you're an athlete and must regularly engage in rigorous physical activity. A professional physical therapist can help you strengthen your muscles and improve the range of motion in your knee joint, helping you recover and prevent future injuries. In the most severe cases, knees never regain the same mobility following patellar tendonitis.
While many people can continue doing regular physical activities such as walking and climbing stairs, recovery can be slow. Daily stretching and strength exercises that can improve your range of motion are essential to recovering fully. Always listen to your body and stop exercising if they become painful.
If you don't treat patellar tendonitis, any pain and soreness can worsen and affect your athletic performance.
Pain (often sharp or stabbing), tenderness, or burning sensations are all symptoms of patellar tendonitis. You may also experience swelling in your knee and pain when you try to kneel or squat down.