Thursday, April 27, 2017

Understanding the Knee: Runner’s and Jumper’s Knee

Runner’s or jumper’s knee are condition that commonly occurs in young, active individuals. Both can be categorized into a larger set of injuries that effect the patellar tendon and cause what is known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). In order to learn more about these conditions, let’s discuss related anatomy, symptoms, causes and treatments.
Related Anatomy

The patella, or kneecap, is the bone that covers and protects the knee joint. It’s attached to the femur by the quadriceps tendon and the tibia by the patella tendon.

Illustration 1- The quadriceps and patella tendon

A small fat pad is located underneath the patella and soft tissue and bone surround it. When the fat pad, tendons, tissues, or bones associated with the patella are overused, a patient is said to have runner’s/jumper’s knee.


A dull, aching pain around the front of the knee is the most common symptom of runner’s or jumper’s knee. This pain usually gets worse with increased physical activity. When left untreated, pain can reach the point where an affected patient might have to stop physical activity.


Runner’s or jumper’s knee is most caused by overuse or improper form when training, such as not properly warming up or muscular imbalance when running or changing direction. Athletes or active individuals most susceptible to the condition are those that:

·      Wear improper athletic equipment (especially worn out shoes)
·      Do not rest properly
·      Increase the frequency and/or intensity of training regimens too quickly
·      Abruptly switch training programs
·      Are involved in sports and/or activities that involve squatting, running and jumping

Once the has been diagnosed by an orthopedic specialist, a relatively simple, straight-forward treatment program is prescribed.


Runner’s or jumper’s knee are most often treated using non-surgical options. The following are the most common:

1.    Activity modification. Slowing down or stopping sports/activities that cause pain gives the knee a chance to heal. Once pain goes away, sports/activities can be resumed.

2.    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Like ice, NSAIDs calm down inflammation and decrease pain.

3.    Physical Therapy. Stretching and strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the knee decrease pain and prevent future injuries.

Any, any combination, or all of these treatment options can be prescribed by an orthopedic specialist.

In rare instances, surgery may benefit patients with PFPS or associated injuries.  This type of surgery is typically performed arthroscopically with patients returning home the same day as their procedure.

Contacting an Orthopedic Specialist

If you’re experiencing knee pain that won’t go away, you might have runner’s or jumper’s knee that’s needs to be professionally treated. Please contact our offices in St. Peters or O'Fallon to arrange an appointment with one our orthopedic specialists. The road to recovery begins when you walk through our doors.

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