Jumpers Knee (Patellar Tendonitis)

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Injuries are never fun for any athlete.

For jumping athletes like those involved in basketball, volleyball, and track & field, the most common injury is jumpers knee a.k.a patellar tendonitis.

What Is Jumpers Knee (Patellar Tendonitis)?

Jumpers knee occurs when the patellar tendon (located just below your knee cap) swells up due to inflammation.

The patellar tendon is very important in sports because it connects your quads to your knees and helps you propel yourself off the ground when you jump.

It also acts as a stabilizer muscle in the leg, ensuring that you remain balanced as you jump or move around.

The patellar tendon therefore comes under a lot of stress, especially by athletes in sports that involve lots of jumping.

Signs & Symptoms

Tell-tale signs of jumpers knee include:

  • Pain right below the knee cap.
  • Swelling of the actual patellar tendon.
  • Difficulty and pain while running or jumping.

Causes of Jumpers Knee

The most common causes of patellar tendonitis are:

  • Excessive playing of sports on hard surfaces (e.g. outdoor basketball courts made of concrete).
  • Increased training frequency.
  • Increased training intensity.
  • Training or playing in worn out shoes or shoes without good cushioning.

How To Prevent Jumpers Knee

To prevent yourself from developing patellar tendonitis, do the following:

1. Always warm up before workouts.

  • Warming up before workouts is one of the best ways to prevent injuries of any kind.

2. Always stretch your muscles.

  • Perform dynamic stretches before workouts and static stretches after workouts.
  • When it comes to preventing jumpers knee, make sure you stretch your quads, hamstrings, and calves very well.

3.Strengthen the muscles around your patellar tendon

  • In order to prevent jumpers knee, you need to strengthen the muscles surrounding your patellar tendon.
  • Strengthen your quads, hamstrings, calves, and shins to minimize muscle imbalances in the leg and prevent tendonitis.

4. Train on appropriate surfaces

  • Always try to train on soft surfaces like grass or training surfaces made out of thick carpet or rubber.
  • This will minimize the impact and shock on your knees while you train.

How To Cure Jumpers Knee

There are several ways to treat patellar tendonitis:

1. Icing

  • Icing your knees after workouts is a great way to reduce inflammation and speed up your recovery.

2. Strengthen your shin muscles

  • Most athletes never train their shins and usually have a huge muscle strength imbalance between their calves and shins.
  • By training your shins to become stronger, you will reduce muscle imbalances, improve your leg strength, and recover from tendonitis faster.
  • Most gyms are equipped with machines to strengthen your shins, but there is one simple exercise you can perform without any equipment.
  • The exercise is called elevated toe walks.
  • To perform it, simply walk on your heels (you will feel it in your shins).
  • This is a simple and effective way to strengthen your shins.

3. EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation)

  • Many college sports teams use EMS to treat patellar tendonitis.
  • I used it while I played college ball, and it was very effective as a treatment for jumpers knee.

4. STOP playing your sport and wait for full recovery.

  • The best way to cure jumpers knee is to stop any physical activity and let time heal your injury.
  • Many athletes never get rid of their tendonitis because they never give it enough time to fully recover.
  • Take as many weeks off as you need to completely get rid of the injury before returning to action.

5. If Symptoms persist, seek medical advice!

  • It is always in your best interest to seek professional help when you are injured.
  • A doctor will know exactly what you need to treat the injury.

Conclusion

Jumpers knee is one of the most frustrating exercises for jumping athletes.

It makes it extremely difficult and painful to run and jump.

Always make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent this irritating injury, and if you still happen to get injured, visit a doctor and treat it accordingly.

Once you are completely injury-free and ready to train again, use the Jump Manual. It will really help you improve your vertical jump.

228 Responses to “Jumpers Knee (Patellar Tendonitis)”

  1. aaron white Says:

    About a month ago i did a jump rope workout, and it was bad. To get better i did it again a week later, bad idea. My knees especially below my right throbbed. I rested and just recently started p90x2. the pain is back especially below in the right knee. No swelling, just pain below the knee and into the shin and at times on the side of my knees.

    Reply

    • Yvette Says:

      Hey Aaron,

      Sorry to hear about your knees. I am having the exact*** situation. (Jump roping followed by P90X only to find out it is back). I saw that you posted your comment in December. How are your knees now? I am so tired of waiting for them to heal and I am looking for SOME estimate…

      Reply

      • Rob Says:

        Hi Yvette, sorry to hear about the knees. Check out the free 7 day knee pain course coming out shortly on this site… that will really help :)
        cheers Rob

        Reply

    • Clutch Says:

      Find a prolotherapist

      Reply

  2. Skyler Says:

    Hey, I’m a 15 year old boy that used to be extremely active. Last summer I went to a pool to swim. When I jumped in I noticed a dull pain in my knees. Since then, the problem has not gone away, it’s been about 4-5 months now. I have seen a doctor and he diagnosed me with patellar tendinitis and told me to rest my legs for 2 weeks. I have rested them for more than 2 1/2 weeks now… No luck. I am desperate to get better, I plan on joining the Marine Core when I graduate high school. Needless to say, the pain is much too great to pass boot camp. Any suggestions?! I NEED HELP!

    Reply

    • Salable Says:

      I was searching the web for answers just like you and came across something my friend suggested its called a Foam Roller. http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=9911 so check it out cause I might just get it my self considering I have the exact same thing in the same spot for same amount of time from skimming boariding. And like you said it just doesint heal even after months of Being off it.. So check it out. Here’s a link explaining what it fixes. I think runners knee and jumpers knee is close or the same. So either way I think it will help.

      Reply

      • Rob Says:

        Thanks Salable, yes the foam roller is an excellent aid for knee pain. It works by releasing restrictions and tightness in the muscles of the hip thigh/hamstrings and lower leg so that the leg can go through its full range with strength and mobility. The 6 week knee pain course coming soon will show you exactly how to use a foam roller for knee pain. Look forward to seeing you on there.

        Rob

        Reply

    • Salable Says:

      http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/runners-knee forgot to post the runners knee here you go.

      Reply

    • taylor Says:

      Hi. Same thing happened to me but I’m fourteen. I run cross country, track and soccer. My doctor told me to stretch my hamstrings and quads, no active activity and ice a lot. Put your feet up to rest sometimes. Massage them. Hope this helps.

      Reply

      • AJ Says:

        This works.
        I’m 22 and have had this problem since I was in 7th grade. This problem will not fully go away UNLESS YOU TAKE CARE OF THIS ISSUE CONSTANTLY. You need to ice and stretch after every activity EVEN IF IT DOES NOT HURT. Do the shin walks as well. “Walk on the heel of your toe”. Stretch your Ham strings!!! This is KEY! Do this and you will solve your problem!

        I play basketball, football and Competitive Competition Style Paintball (PSP, NPPL)

        Reply

    • kevin Says:

      Search osgood schlatter…I had it and it was caused by my fast growth spurt…gradually goes gets better but took about 1.5 years to go away completely :/

      Reply

    • Rob Says:

      Hi Skyler, sorry to hear about the knees. Check out the free 7 day knee pain course coming out shortly on this site… that will really help :)
      cheers Rob

      Reply

    • Kristine Says:

      you should exercise your knee by different kind of squat exercise … this could strengthen your knees etc.

      Reply

  3. mohan Says:

    i am suffering for jumping knee from past 3 years. i am a volley ball and foot ball player. when i was in 10, during my practice time i got pain in right leg below the knee. i consulted a doctor, he told to take rest for 6 months,but i took rest for 10 months avoiding all sports activity,but once when i started practice again after 10 months once again i got pain, then i took rest for 1 year, but even then pain is coming when i am practicing.so because of this i lost my sports carrier and i am not going to play also.

    Reply

    • yo b Says:

      proper English my dude !

      Reply

    • Rob Says:

      Hi Mohan, Sorry to hear about your knee… when I was young I also had a doctor stop me from playing sport for 6 months. I now realize after studying the knee and biomechanics that this approach is usually because the doctor does not know any other way to help. You need to get your feet, knees and hips communicating well together. When you have pain in the knee it is because this relationship has broken down. Look out for my course which will do this for you. cheers Rob

      Reply

  4. dj Says:

    iv had jumpers knee since i started dunking the ball. i was about 14 years old. then suddenly over time my knee started hurting more and more,, my jump got lower and lower and when ever i would try and dunk it would feel like it would give out or the knee cap right in the middle give this stinging sensation. iv been to the doctor… top knee surgeons had injection and had rest but it always comes back.. im at college level basketball. so the last 3 years i have developed my own routine that can keep me in the game,,, i am dunking again and my game is starting to grow to another level. i would like to share my routine n what i do to conques jumpers knee because i am absolutely sick of the stinging pain in the knee and really want jump , dunk and play my bball game the way i use to when i was 14.. basically its all very simple steps…every morning have have practice for my college team 8 -11 am. as soon as i get to practice i get on the jump rope for exactly five minutes no less or more.. i start off slow.. what this does it slowly gets you knees and all yours muscles a light sweat which will help you get warmed up.. unlike my team mates it seems that they can get straight into training however for me i need to do a little extra work to get warmed up… after my skipping i have my ball boi to give me a total full body stretch basically focusing on the legs. afte that i will get a light rub down on my legs with some special king of oil mixed in with other oils that makes my legs cole but hot at the same time. after i have competed my skipping, leg stretching and leg rub down.. ill go to the edge of the stairs and do single leg squats.. this will feel painful but will feel good at the same do about 7 to 10 pumps 3 sets.. now you are ready for training it will still hurt a little but you will still be ready to get into a hard session… after training stretching is so important i cant emphasize on that anymore,, after your stretching it is good to always get a light rub down on all your tight muscles if not its good to use a foam roller and roll your legs out.. after you have completed that i ice both knees for 20 mins this stops all swelling and pain,, and preparing you for the next day.. this will help you you in your games.. of course i do workout my legs squats dead lifts etc in my own time to strengthen them.. i always use leg compressions that go from the ankle up to the mid thigh these help keep your knees warm and keep support. i also did u the patller kneww strap which was also effective… i hope this helps!

    Reply

    • Andrea Says:

      My 17yr old basketball star grandson is in his senior year in HS now has jumpers knee. The right knee is painful when jumping … His performance is now stunted. What suggestions do you have? Which products, best exercises, ice or heat, pool exercises, does support gear help? He has several offers for college we want him to be healthy ….. Please help!!!! Thx G-ma

      Reply

      • Rob Says:

        Hi Andrea, I studied with Michael Jordens physical therapist and I would recommend you visit anyone trained by him (GIFT Graduate)… I have just finished creating an online knee pain course for Dan on this site so keep your eyes peeled for that and make sure you add your name to the optin form above to get the free 7 day course :)

        Reply

    • Rob Says:

      impressive routine mate… congrats on finding a way to get over your knee pain :)

      Reply

  5. Mark Says:

    Developed jumpers knee in High school, 1994. Played college baseball with it and all I can tell you guys out there is it will never ever go away as long as you are active. Ice after every workout or activity. 15, 20, 15. Pick your anti-inflammatory and deal with it. Try to keep your quad on the affected leg as strong as possible. That is what I have struggled with for years. My right quad atrophied and inch and a half smaller than my left. To this day it is still noticeably smaller. Ride a stationary bike, elliptical machine, whatever you can do to maintain strength without pounding the joint. Just my advice. Good luck to everybody on this.

    Reply

    • Jacob Says:

      Hey mark, i’m 17 years old senior and i suffer from this, actually patellar tendinosis to be exact. next year i’ll be playing college baseball. any other advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I’ve had this since football season junior year.

      Reply

  6. kevin holder Says:

    My son plays high school basketball and football, and suffers year round with jumpers knee.

    Reply

  7. C.J. Says:

    I had the early stages of jumpers knee at 19. I could highjump, 6″5, long jump 21″1, & triple jump 42″6 and dunk a basketball from a foot and a half from the free throw line in high school. By time I was 27 I could barely dunk. 8 months ago I couldn’t even straighten my leg out and lift it up. I had surgery and ten days later with my brace on I can straighten my leg and lift it up pain free. When I was 23 I rested it for about 6 months because I had a broken wrist and it did well for about a year then the pain started coming back. My advice is to stregthen it if you are in stage one. Once you get to stage three its surgery or pain.

    Reply

  8. Nick Says:

    Hi,
    I’m a 16 year old boy who developed this jumpers knee about 5 months ago.
    I had gone to the physio and they just said do these set of stretches ever second day and rest for 2 weeks, i did this and nothing happended in return. My dream is to make a job out of basketball and i’ve avoided my parents saying to me take many weeks off, stop playing basketball etc. because i don’t even want to take one day off basketball.
    Before and after i got this jumpers knee, i was playing basketball everyday for 30-1h each day, and on sundays i would go to the park with my friend and play for about 5 hours, this is how much i wanted to improve. One day when i leaped in the air i had immense pain, and this was only 3 days before my grandfinal, and i played in the grandfinal with so much pain.
    Now i still play basketball this much with this knee injury, but im much slower and playing with a lot of pain..

    The question is can i get rid of it and how?

    Reply

    • Rob Says:

      Hi Nick, Did the physio say you had damaged the knee or it was just over use? You sound very smart and determined to resolve this and I wish you luck getting rid of the pain. I would recommend starting with the 7 day free knee pain video course that Dan will be giving away on this page. Make sure you sign up for it with your details. If that helps then get the full 6 week course as for me it will be the best knee pain course on the internet.
      cheers Rob

      Reply

  9. raymond Says:

    and i cant stop because i have to do ity every day is it because i put all my weight on my leg when i jump off of it

    Reply

    • Rob Says:

      Hi Raymond, Its a tough situation when you have to be doing hard long jumping everyday when your getting pain from it. You need to try and have a break to help the knee recover. Then when you do jump make sure you stretch very well before hand. Try and get a tennis ball and rub the under side of your foot by standing on it with one foot. Be gentle with the pressure. Rub your foot for 1 minute and repeat on other side. This will help wake up your foot and release tension and restrictions. remember the foot works closely with the knee.

      Hope that helps…

      Reply

  10. Brian Says:

    I use to play basketball all the time now Im 18 and my left knee which I sprang really bad when i was 15 is giving me trouble
    It doesn’t swell actually it does the opposite the pattella is oddly shaped and It aches real bad where it meets the cap on the lower right side. I stopped playing basketball and play very little but I still workout at the gym. I joined the army and go to basic in may and I’m so worried that my knee will affect my performance. I really want to get rid of this also I notice when I rub my knee I have this weird squeaky feeling in both idk what’s up with that.

    Reply

  11. John Says:

    Research over the past 5-10 years has shown that eccentric exercise (slow lengthening of the muscle) appears to be the most effective conservative treatment option for jumper’s knee, as well as tendinosis injuries in general. Most of the studies I have read follow Alfredson’s protocol (originally for Achilles tendinopathy), which consists of performing the activity for 3 sets of 15 repetitions twice a day for 12 weeks. Here is a link to one article with pictures of potentially helpful exercises: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/39/2/102.full

    Reply

  12. Ben Says:

    I had this problem for about 6 months last year, it went away for a couple of months and now its back again. I play sport every night of the week so i can’t just rest and wait for it to go away, i’ve tried that and doing nothing seems to make it worse. I found that Stretching every morning and night (before after sport if you have it that day) focussing especially on the hamstrings, calfs and quads helps lots! Make sure you have a proper warm up before you excerise and you should be fine. After you’ve finished excercising and you’re knees are still feeling warmed up, do one legged squats (not the full way down just till where its comfortable) this will strengthen the muscle. If you keep doing this the pain should be gone in 1-3 weeks, good luck :)

    Reply

  13. Teo Says:

    i am 6’1 and i worked on my vertical jump until i could dunk the ball. Now i can dunk it but i have such a terrible pain…

    Reply

  14. Karl Says:

    I have it in both knees. I play a lot of sports, but I noticed it first when I was climbing Mt Fuji in Japan. Of course, because I was two thirds up a mountain I had little choice but to just push on with it. The pain was very bad by the time I got back down, but the next day it felt a lot better. I did notice however that whenever I was in a situation where I had to climb or descend a lot of steps, the pain would flare up. I never saw a doctor, I just kept playing sports. The pain caught up with me again, spread to my other knee, and I eventually had to seek advice. The doctor said it sounded like patella tendonitis because the pain was concentrated right at the base of the patella. He prescribed anti-inflam. I’ve since done a lot of reading on the subject and found that this is what works best for me. I’m not a doctor or physio so don’t take my words too seriously because some things may work for me and not for you.
    If I have little or no pain in the region, I massage my quad muscles and then rub my fingers across the tendon just under the patella where the pain usually is. I am led to believe that this helps to break up scar tissue and to increase blood flow. I do it fairly gently, but not too gently. I don’t do it if there is any significant pain in the region for fear of doing more damage.
    I try to keep my legs fairly straight and relaxed when sitting or lying down because I find that if my knees are too bent in certain positions it can aggravate the condition.
    I do pushups, situps and chinups often to increase overall core strength. This makes lifting low heavy objects easier when bending your knees.
    When climbing stairs I keep my knees straight in line with my body and feet so that the proper muscles are doing most of the work. Same with going down stairs, though I find that shuffling sideways down stairs is a good way of taking all the pressure off of the patella tendon.
    For sports I wear a tight, but unrestrictive elastic knee brace and have well-fitted shoes. I take my anti-inflam with a meal about an hour before I play. I warm up by first stretching the quads, calves and groin. Then I do a few sets of squats, going down as far as seems comfortable without causing too much aggravation. This warms up the knees well. I then do a light jog to warm up my legs completely. Then I do another set of deeper squats. This has the effect of making my knees feel strong–I don’t know why! I keep active throughout the whole game! Even if I’m benched, I will jog on the spot to stay warm. I cool down after the game by lightly strecthing my legs and walking around. Usually I feel very little or no pain during or after play. After cooling down I apply ice to both my knees and gently rub the ice against the bare skin under the knee cap until it feels just a little numb. I wait until the skin is warm again, then ice them again. I ice them again about a half an hour later.
    I still get some dull pain in my knees and have some bad days, but I’ve found that doing the things above has really helped. I play sports three nights a week, and go cycling and running every other day. I have it in both knees and have learnt to live with it. It may get worse as I get older, but I am resigned to that as long as I can keep it at this level for at least the next decade.
    Thanks

    Reply

  15. Silas katonon Says:

    Hi am 22 highjumper i used to jump 2.17 as my best results but one day when i was training i felt down on my right knee i started feeling more pain my coach told me to rest for some months i did so. when i try to return to the pich i notice it was serious so i went to hospital they did mri the doctor told me it was partial tear of posterior ligament and he conluded that there was no need for operation.i stayed for a period of 1 year iwas able to compete again but now am having tendonitis in the both knee and its realy disturbing what can i do since i have try with all medicene its not helping kindly help am in dilemma

    Reply

  16. nick Says:

    For all the people who have jumpers knee and are tired of resting while you’re playing just apply pressure(with tape or support system) to the area below the knee cap that is causing pain an discomfort and you wont feel the pain while playing. I swear jumpers knee is the worst because you have to workout your legs just to get rid of it and the more you work out the more you destroy your knee but apply pressure correctly and the pain will stop.

    Reply

  17. Payton Zeidler Says:

    When is it coming out? I need it badly.

    Reply

  18. Suzy Pickhall Says:

    As a physiotherapist I can tell you that jumpers knee or Patellar Tendonitis is very common in young men. However sometimes its confused with Iliotibial Band Syndrome. The Illiotibial band is a band of strong tissue that begins on the outer side of the pelvis and attaches to the outer part of the knee. Excessive strain can lead to the tendon shorting which causes the band to rub on the knee cap and produces pain.
    Suzy Pickhall recently posted..Treatment of Plantar FasciitisMy Profile

    Reply

  19. James Says:

    I play Men’s volleyball and I once landed sideways on my leg. Now somewhere in my knee feels pain, not too much, but not too little either. I want to treat it before it has a chance to become painful. Any tips or ideas?
    James recently posted..Freak Scoring Machine: New Program By Damin Altizer & Adam LinkenaugerMy Profile

    Reply

  20. OldManDave Says:

    I found that my right knee started to “feel weird”. I could not pin it to anything in particular. It was never swollen, and it felt like it was not stable. Rest made it better, but exercise brought it right back. Finally I tried a knee strap (under my knee). This made a HUGE difference! Now that I know that I have jumper’s knee, I know what to do. Wear my knee strap during exercise, and avoid deep knee bends. I do light-weight leg extensions, and I emphasize the “down” motion by going very slowly. I do light squats (not too deep). My knee feels SO MUCH BETTER! I will continue with my program for several more months. I NEVER want to feel that knee pain again! I hope that you kids will take a lesson from an old (46 year old) man. Fix this problem before it gets worse!!!!

    Reply

    • OldManDave Says:

      Opps! I forgot to mention: Ice (I use a gel-pack) 2-3 times a day. Especially after exercise. This will take away the swelling from the tendon and allow it to heal. Very important!

      Reply

  21. sarah Says:

    hello my name is sarah, and im 12 but i do, lots of sports. i play in several teams for several different sports such as , swimming, volleyball,soccer, and i am in two basketball teams. I have jumpers knee and it’s annoying. I run and then after a while I just cant run anymore cus it hurts. I guess that u can consider me as that trooper that just dosnt want to get out of the games, or competitions. I know its bad, but i just dont want to or i just cant stop! I dont want to grow up and have this problem for the rest of my life. I want to be a good player, even hopes to be in the wnba, or olympics. someone have any tips to help me? thanks :)

    Reply

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