Knee pain is something we all go through once in a while. It can be quite an annoyance and can really stop you from doing what you love. Jumper’s knee is a common condition in athletes where the kneecap becomes inflamed.
It is most commonly seen in people who participate in sports which involve jumping, such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, tennis. The symptoms of the jumper’s knee vary from mild stage 1 to stage four (severe).
Patients complain of pain on or around their patella that gets worse with physical activity involving jumping. They may also complain of swelling and crepitus (crunchy feeling when you move your leg).
Diagnosis can be conducted by your physical therapist will examine your knee and look for tenderness around or behind the kneecap. If you experience pain when bending and straightening your leg, this is also an indicator that something might be wrong with your patellofemoral joint.
What are 3 effective treatments for jumper’s knee?
1) Relative rest: This means avoiding any activity which involves high-impact, especially landing from a jump position, which can help decrease pain and inflammation of the patella tendon.
2) Ice: Ice your knee for 15-20 minutes every 3 hours onto swollen areas can reduce inflammation. You can use ice packs or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel (do not hold the ice directly on the skin).
3) Exercises: Your physical therapist will prescribe some exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles and help increase stability around your patella, which will help decrease pain.
Exercises That Help With Jumper’s Knee;
Step-ups onto a step or box
Stand in front of a step. Put your affected leg on the step and stand up straight, holding onto the railings for support. Hold this position for 10 seconds and slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat this exercise 10 times, then do the same amount with your other leg.
Wall squats with a ball
Stand with your back against a wall and keep your feet hip-width apart. Slide down the wall as if you were about to sit in a chair, using your hands if needed for balance. Keep your knees directly above your ankles at all times (do not let them fall in or out).
Hold this position for 10 seconds before returning to starting position, never letting heels touch the ground (variation of this exercise would be to use an actual squat rack that has safety bars set at knee level, allowing for easy return to standing after each repetition).
Freestyle Swimming Exercises
The freestyle drill is usually done with one arm at a time, so this would be called a Single-Arm drill. Remember to keep your neck in line with your spine to help you see where you are going.
Start by lying on your back, then start kicking up towards the surface of the water. Once you can feel that you are buoyant enough, start swimming using the arms only (no legs), which makes it a stroke drill.
Using one arm at a time, take three strokes and then switch arms. Try not to move your neck while switching sides to breathe, but rather use the momentum of the stroke to rotate your body and take a breath.
Jumpers Knee Exercise Routine
Do these exercises before and after activity to help strengthen the specific muscles involved in patella tracking. It’s ideal to perform these hip and knee strengthening exercises, three days per week, to decrease your chances of suffering from this overuse injury again.