Jumper’s Knee for the Basketball or Volleyball Athlete

Jumper’s Knee for the Basketball or Volleyball Athlete
Written by : Dr. Paul Mackarey

As an athlete in many sports you are asked to run, cut, and jump. You ask your body to go through many different movements and forces day in and day out. We all have aches and pains, but some pains are better to be aware of than others.

Are you a jumping athlete?

Do you play basketball or volleyball?

Have you ever had pain just below your kneecap?

If you answered yes to any of these questions than this post is just for you!

Pain, ache, tenderness and/or soreness in the tendon just below the kneecap is a very common injury called patellar tendonitis or jumpers knee. Usually the pain seems to appear one day out of nowhere, this is known as insidious onset.

There are 4 stages of patellar tendonitis.  The first stage is associated with pain only after activity. It does not limit anything else that you do. The second involves pain during and after activity, however, you can still perform without limitation. The third stage is accompanied with lasting pain during and after activity and your performance starts to suffer. The fourth and final stage results in a complete tear of the tendon, which would require surgery. But don’t worry! If you are reading this, you will know what to do to help this long before you need surgery!

This type of injury is called jumpers knee because it is commonly associated with athletes who play sports that often involve jumping, like basketball or volleyball. If you play these sports, it is not uncommon to have some pain in the knees and if you start having pain at that spot below the knee, don’t worry! It is a very common injury and it can be treated with some easy exercises that you will learn today.

Patellar tendonitis has been shown to be associated with stiff ankle joints or ankle sprains (a very common injury that all basketball and volleyball players know too well). It is important not only to keep the knee strong but also the ankle strong as well. Another joint to consider is the hip and it’s strength. Your hip abductors (or the muscles along the outside of the hips) can help control and stabilize your knee when you are jumping and cause less pain.

Here are some exercises to consider:Decline Pistol Squats

Decline Pistols:

  • Stand on 20 degree slant board (or dumbbell)
  • Squat down (very slowly) with one leg, keeping knee over toe.
  • Go back up with 2 legs
  • It is OK to have 1-2/10 pain with this exerciseHeel Taps
  • Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.

Lateral Heel Taps:

  • Stand on step. Lower leg slowly until you tap your heel.
  • Remember to sit back and keep the knee over the toe.
  • Perform 2 sets for 10-15 reps.

Skater Squats:Skater Squats

  • Decline on one leg, bringing the backward until it taps the block.
  • Keep the knee over the toe.
  • Lunge back up with same leg.
  • Perform 2 sets for 10-15 reps.

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