Jumper’s knee is a condition that typically affects people who lead active lifestyles, particularly athletes who participate in high-impact sports. It is also known as patellar tendinopathy, which occurs from repeated trauma to the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap to the bone in the shin. Microtears form within the tendon fibers, compromising their function and causing significant pain.
If you have this condition, you can mitigate the pain by modifying activities and undergoing treatment. Sports medicine offers various ways to treat jumper’s knee, allowing patients to return to their active lives.
Physical activities such as sports place significant stress on the body. Since the patellar tendons enable your thigh muscles to extend your legs, they must withstand strong tension forces.
Therefore, activity modification is nearly mandatory in treating jumper’s knee. High-impact activities that require you to jump or run may not be suitable for patients with such conditions.
In many cases, you should be able to find low-impact alternatives to your activities. If you’re an athlete, you should also coordinate with your coach or sports medicine physician to reduce the amount of high impact exercises you must do.
However, don’t treat activity modification as a prompt to stop living an active life. Some stimulation is still required to retain muscle mass and fortify your tendons and ligaments. Ensure that you still get adequate cardiovascular exercise and strength training to keep yourself fit.
Cold Application and Elevation
The RICE method is a tried-and-tested treatment method used by sports medicine doctors for musculoskeletal injuries. It reduces pain and inflammation through rest, ice application, compression, and elevation. Applying cold compresses and elevation for jumper’s knee can minimize discomfort and bring relief.
Cold compresses work by temporarily reducing blood flow within the affected area, reducing inflammation. Cold temperatures also reduce sensation and help block pain signals from reaching the brain. Elevation helps shunt excess fluid out of damaged tissues, reducing swelling.
You should apply the RICE technique frequently but not all the time. For instance, a continuous cold application can increase the chances of frostbite. To avoid this, apply a cold compress in short intervals throughout the day to reduce swelling. Since you must remain active even if you have jumper’s knee, RICE methods are perfect for recuperating during rest periods.
Several classes of medications can help alleviate the symptoms of jumper’s knee. Painkillers are recommended as an effective method for reducing pain. While they only offer short-term relief, these drugs are usually taken for significant periods as your body tries to heal the damaged tendon fibers. The pain relief they offer can restore some of your mobility and enable you to engage in mild exercises.
Traditionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications have been used to reduce symptoms further. However, recent research in sports medicine shows that there isn’t much inflammation within the damaged patellar tendon for many people with jumper’s knee. This finding implies that anti-inflammatory medications might have limited effects on alleviating symptoms. However, it’s still a good idea to consult your sports medicine doctor to see if other injured parts of your knee would benefit from anti-inflammatory drugs.
Although high-impact movements can cause jumper’s knee, controlled exercises can help hasten the healing process. Specific exercises that target your leg muscles also enable them to better support your knees during movement, ultimately lessening the stress on your tendons. Exercise also stimulates connective tissue rebuilding, making your tendons and ligaments stronger.
Sports medicine doctors also emphasize the use of eccentric movements for physical therapy. These exercises require your leg muscles to contract as they lengthen. An example of an eccentric exercise is sitting down, extending your leg, then slowly lowering the leg under resistance.
Warm-up exercises are also crucial for protecting your knees. Gradual increases in activity prompt your muscles to prepare, enabling more refined control over your knees and reducing the risk of injuries. It would be best to do these warm-up exercises before any strenuous activity, even after your physical therapy ends.
A sports medicine doctor may recommend surgical interventions when conservative treatments don’t work. Most patients report achieving lasting relief and increased mobility after surgery.
Surgery for jumper’s knee involves debridement or the removal of damaged tendon tissue. This technique allows the tendon to heal better. With proper guidance from a sports medicine doctor, jumper’s knee surgery recovery is usually relatively fast. After physical therapy, patients can expect relief from their symptoms as long as they abstain from excessive high-impact exercises in the future.
Sports Medicine in Missouri
The pain you experience from jumper’s knee can be alleviated and controlled through sports medicine. The treatment choice lies with your sports medicine doctor, so working with an experienced professional is vital to its success.
Advanced Bone & Joint provides convenient access to orthopedic services throughout Missouri, including St. Peters, O’Fallon, and Wentzville. Our team strives to provide personalized treatments to restore your active lifestyle and promote wellness.
If you have inquiries about jumper’s knee, knee pain, or other orthopedic conditions, call us at (636) 229-4222. You may also fill out our secure online form to request an appointment today. We look forward to serving you!