Jumper's Knee, also known as patellar tendinitis, is a condition that primarily affects athletes who participate in sports that require a lot of jumping, like basketball and volleyball. In fact, it affects approximately 20% of jumping athletes, and in general is one of the most common tendinopathies that affects mature athletes. Jumper's knee is caused by repetitive and excessive stress load on the knee, more specifically the patellar (kneecap) or quadricep tendons. This condition commonly presents with pain between the patella (kneecap) and the tibia (shin bone). People with excessive body weight, abnormally high or low kneecaps, unequal leg length, or have a muscular imbalance are at a higher risk for jumper's knee.
Jumper's knee can be broken down into four different stages of injury:
1) The individual only experiences pain after physical activity, and has no functional issues
2) The individual experiences pain during and after physical activity, but is still able to perform at a normal level
3) The individual experiences prolonged pain during and after physical activity, and has difficulty performing at a normal level
4) The individual experiences a complete tendon tear; in this case, surgery is required