Resolving Jumper’s Knee With the Help of Physical Therapy

Resolving Jumper’s Knee With the Help of Physical Therapy

jumper's knee pain relief in seattle, wa at a certified physical therapy clinic

Find Pain Relief With Seattle’s Physical Therapy

Has your son/daughter been complaining about knee cap pain when playing sports? Does your son/daughter’s knee get worse going downstairs or trying to squat? Your child may have a jumper’s knee.

Fortunately, at MoveMend, our physical therapists are experts at treating all types of knee pain. We can help identify the underlying reasons for the pain and, most importantly, how to address each factor so your child can get back to playing without pain!

Jumper’s knee is an overuse of the patellar tendon related to frequent jumping or repetitive movements like running. Sports like basketball and volleyball are commonly associated with jumper’s knee, but they can occur in any sport or any activity with repetitive movements. 

No matter what started your condition, our team of physical therapists at MoveMend can offer solutions. We will identify all the factors that contribute to your pain and any underlying issue that needs to be addressed!

Request an appointment today, and let us put an end to your pain and get you back doing what you love, minus the pain!

What is Jumper’s Knee?

Jumper’s knee (i.e., patellar tendinopathy) is a painful condition affecting the tendon that runs on the knee cap (patella). Although it was thought to be an inflammatory condition, jumper’s knee is actually due to a degenerative process of the patellar tendon. This is a critical aspect of proper management of this condition.

Jumper’s knee is related to chronic overuse type injury instead of an acute or abrupt injury. This means that the pain and injury are due to repeated stress-causing microtraumas and inadequate time for healing after these repeated stresses. 

Tendinopathy-type problems require an active approach to healing. Unfortunately, the advice to rest and avoid movements can inhibit your child’s recovery. Understanding how to adequately challenge the tendon is the key to resolving the pain and building a stronger, more durable tension to avoid future problems. 

Early on, the pain is typically localized to the tendon on the bottom aspect of the knee cap (patella). As the microtears accumulate, the pain can encompass the whole patella (kneecap) and the tendon on the upper aspect (i.e., quadriceps tendon). If left unchecked, the symptoms will magnify and may include:

  • Noticeable swelling
  • Pain with extending the knee
  • Stiffness with movement (i.e., rising from sitting, going up and downstairs)

Although by far the most common cause of jumper’s knee is repetitive movements, there are some other risk factors linked to developing this condition, including:

  • Quadriceps and hamstring tightness
  • Weakness in the hip abductor and thigh quadriceps muscle groups
  • Abnormal patellar height
  • High body mass index
  • Lack of hip internal rotation 

As with most injuries, one of the most common risk factors is a history of a previous episode. It is critical to resolving injuries completely to ensure they do not return and/or cause a new condition. At MoveMend, our team will resolve your pain and dysfunction, so you can rest assured that you will not need to worry about future episodes!

How Physical Therapy in Seattle Can Help Jumper’s Knee

The key to the successful resolution of jumper’s knee is twofold. First and foremost is identifying all the factors associated with the condition. This requires an extensive history and comprehensive evaluation to be performed by our physical therapists at MoveMend. We will identify your child’s specific condition, including their training schedule and current developmental status. We will assess their movement patterns, joint mobility, and strength to build our program. 

The second factor is how to handle tendon rehabilitation. Complete rest can delay healing and interfere with the recovery time. Instead, a proactive approach of modifying or reducing painful activities and simultaneously building and working on the tolerance and strength of the muscle and tendon will lead to the best possible outcome!

The goal of tendon rehabilitation is to gradually progress the exercises to challenge the tendon without irritating it further. We will likely recommend an active rehabilitation program that gradually loads the tendon. Loading means the cumulative amount of exercise you’re doing and can be changed by adding repetitions, sets, resistance, duration, and speed. 

Tendons will alert you to overtraining by getting worse while exercising or having more pain 24 hours after exercising. Pain that gets worse during exercise is a clear sign the tendon is not ready for that particular exercise/activity. Typically, the pain will improve as the tendon warms up, so it is essential to stop immediately if it is getting worse. 

When you notice your pain is worse 24 hours after exercise/activity, you were trying to push too far too fast. It is a reliable way to know when it is safe to progress again, and if you try to force things, you will only end up delaying your recovery. 

Our physical therapists in Seattle understand how important getting back to sports and activities is for most kids. Our goal is to help your child resume pain-free participation in whatever sport or activity they like as soon as possible. We will work with you through the ups and downs of rehabilitation and give you and your child the tools to ensure a positive outcome.

Request an Appointment at MoveMend today

At MoveMend, our team of physical therapists is experts at treating tendon-related injuries like jumper’s knee. We have proven success working with kids of all ages and can help give you the peace of mind to know your child is safe and prepared to handle the demands of their sport!

Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our Seattle specialists!