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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Jumper’s Knee by Rachel Keane

What is it?

Jumper’s knee is also known as patellar tendinitis.

The patellar tendon connects the knee cap (patella) to the shin bone (tibia). Tendons connect muscle to bone. It is known as the patellar tendon as it is an extension of the quadriceps tendon and therefore works with the quad to help straighten/ extend the knee.

When the patellar tendon becomes inflamed, this is known as patellar tendonitis.

How does this occur?

This is generally caused by overuse/ repetitive jumping movements which slowly irritate the tendon overtime. It is commonly seen in sports with lots of jumping such as basketball, volleyball and athletes such as long jumpers and high jumpers.

Common symptoms:

  • Gradual onset of pain- no particular event, just gradually
    started to get sore overtime
  • Morning pain/ stiffness
  • Initially, pain just as you begin activity and after activity.
    As it worsens, people begin to experience pain during
    activity also.
  • Painful movements: Squatting, walking up and down a stairs
  • Eased by ice/ anti-inflammatories

If Jumper’s knee is not managed, these symptoms usually worsen.

How is this treated?

– Initially, ice and relative rest can be helpful to allow the inflammation to reduce and help the tendon heal. There is some evidence to show that isometrics (where a muscle is contracting but not changing length) can help reduce tendon pain in early stages.

– After this, it is important to strength the surrounding structures that may be causing the joint to become overloaded. This may vary from one person to the next. A physiotherapist can determine this by doing different tests to determine muscle strength and length.

– Next, it is important to manage load- this includes gradually returning to training and sport and building up the training gradually. It is important to consider the impact different types of movements may have on the patellar tendon and gradually build up to those movements which put the most force through the patellar tendon.

Additional treatments available to help speed up recovery times:

– Shockwave therapy: Promotes healing and can help reduce pain
– Deep tissue massage: Promotes healing, improves joint mobility and reduces joint/ muscular stiffness

Get in touch with us at Galway Bay Physio on  091 569 706 or visit us at to book an appointment,
and we will be able to help you with any pain you may be experiencing.

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