Jumpers knee is a common injury, and one that can be underestimated. Netballers are prone to this painful condition due to the large amount of stress that can be put on the knee joints during training and matches. Read on to find out more about jumpers knee.
What is jumpers knee?
Also known as patellar tendonitis, jumpers knee is an affliction of the patella tendon – the thick tissue that connects the kneecap to the shin bone (tibia). When netballers jump frequently, the quadriceps muscles contract and pull on the patella, which puts stress on the tendon below. The tendon develops micro-tears, and sometimes degeneration of the knee’s collagen, which causes inflammation around the site.
How do I know if I have jumpers knee?
Like all joint injuries, jumpers knee can begin as an occasional, niggling pain that occurs after training. It can show up as pain or aching at the base of the kneecap. As the injury progresses you may notice swelling at the base of the kneecap, and it can be particularly painful to jump. The pain may vary from mild annoyance after a training session to a constant presence that can be very uncomfortable (painful).
How can I treat jumpers knee?
If you notice pain at the base of your kneecap, take action straight away. Ignoring or ‘playing through’ the pain will only see the damage increase over time. It’s very difficult to repair damaged tendons, so act early to avoid further problems.
Try the following:
- Protect the injury site with supports (specific braces for jumpers knee are available)
- Rest the knee (chat to your coach about maintaining court-readiness without pressuring your knee)
- Ice the area – apply cold packs promptly after the injury, for at least 10 minutes an hour for around 24 hours.
- Compression helps to reduce swelling and inhibit movement (and further aggravation)
- Elevate the knee to further reduce swelling and take pressure off the inflamed tendon.
If you’re unsure if you are developing jumpers knee, speak with your sports physiotherapist. They will be able to offer specific exercises to strengthen and protect the area. Neglecting the injury over time can lead to painful resolutions like surgery, which will keep you benched for months, even a whole season.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.