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Injury Prevention Skip Navigation LinksHome : Sports Injury Prevention : Knee Injuries : Jumpers Knee Injury Prevention and Treatment


(Patellar tendinopathy / patellar tendinitis)

What is jumpers knee?

The patella tendon (or ligament as it is sometimes called) connects the kneecap to tibia bone. Under extreme stresses such as those involved in jumping a partial rupture can occur. This can often lead to inflammation and degeneration of the tissue. Inflammation can also result from overuse. This is a common volleyball player injury. Rest in the early stages is important.

What are the symptoms of jumpers knee?

  • Pain at the bottom of the kneecap especially when pressing in.
  • Aching and stiffness after exertion.
  • Pain when you contract the quadriceps muscles.
Warning!! - This injury may seem like a niggling injury that is not that bad. Many athletes continue to train and compete on it as it may not be a debilitating injury and recovers after a short period of rest. However, neglect jumpers knee at your peril! If left to become chronic it can be very difficult to treat and may require surgery.

What the athlete can do depends on the extent or grade of the injury:

Grade 1: Pain only after training

  • Continue training but apply ice or cold therapy to the injury after each training session.
  • Wear a heat retainer or support.
  • See a sports injury specialist / therapist who can apply sports massage techniques and advise on rehabilitation. An eccentric strengthening programme is generally recommended.
Grade 2: Pain before and after exercise but pain reduces once warmed up.

  • Modify training activities to reduce the load on the tendon. Stop jumping or sprinting activities and replace them with steady running or swimming / running in water if necessary.
  • See a sports injury specialist / therapist who can apply sports massage techniques and advise on rehabilitation.

Grade 3: Pain during activity which prevents you from training / performing at your best.

  • Rest completely from the aggravating activity. Replace it with swimming / running in water (if pain allows).
  • See a sports injury specialist / therapist who can apply sports massage techniques and advise on rehabilitation.
Grade 4: Pain during every day activities which may or may not be getting worse.
  • Rest for a long period of time (at least 3 months!).
  • See a sports injury specialist / therapist who can apply sports massage techniques and advise on rehabilitation.
  • If the knee does not respond to rehabilitation then consult an Orthopaedic Surgeon as surgery may be required.
A Sports Injury Specialist or Doctor could:
  • Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen.
  • Use ultrasound or laser treatment.
  • Use cross friction massage techniques.
  • Prescribe and supervise a full rehabilitation program.
  • A Surgeon can operate.
If the injury becomes chronic then surgery is an option. A lateral release of the patella tendon is usually successful.

Jumpers Knee - patella tendon assessment.
eMedicineHealth



Sports Injury Clinic



Jumpers Knee
Image 1 - shows a partial rupture to the patella ligament.

Sports Massage for Jumpers Knee
Click here for step by step guides with video clips

Taping Technique for Jumpers Knee
Click here for step by step guides with video clips

Strengthening for Jumpers Knee
Eccentirc exercises can stimulate healing





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