Jumpers knee – a common Irish dancing injury. What is it? We will discuss how to treat it and prevent it. Have you ever had jumpers knee? Do you know anyone who has suffered from jumper’s knee? If yes, then you might find this helpful….
Jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis is pain in the tendon which attaches the kneecap or patella to the top of the shin bone or tibia. It is usually an overuse injury caused by repetitive strain.
Patellar tendonitis can be a tricky condition to treat and requires a substantial period of rest and a thorough treatment and rehabilitation program. In the most severe or persistent cases, surgery may be required but to prevent this I would be happy to guide you in the right direction. You can contact me via my website www.irishdancingphysicalfitness.com/
Jumpers knee symptoms
Symptoms of jumper’s knee consist’s of pain at the bottom front of the kneecap over what is called the lower pole of the patella.
The bottom of the patella will be very tender when pressing in. The dancer is likely to experience aching and stiffness after exercise and pain when contracting the quadriceps muscles in acute cases.
The affected tendon may appear larger than the unaffected side. In particular, jumping activities are likely to be most painful. Jumper’s knee can be categorized into four grades of injury:
- Grade 1: Pain only after training
- Grade 2: Pain before and after training but pain eases once warmed-up
- Grade 3: Pain during training which limits your performance
- Grade 4: Pain during everyday activities
Warning!! – This injury may seem like a niggling injury that is not that bad. Many dancers continue to train and compete on it as it may not be a debilitating injury and recovers after a short period of rest. However, if left to become chronic it can be very difficult to treat and may require surgery.
Factors which increase the likelihood of jumper’s knee include:
As a dancer, you must work your way up to strenuous exercise and practice. During my workshops and in my book ‘Upping Your Step’ I speak about the importance of warming up correctly. Failing to do so, will more than likely contract jumper’s knee from the unexpected shock of intense workouts and practice sessions.
Being overweight can put extra stress on the knees compared to those who are not overweight. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight will help to reduce stress and impact on the knee joints and patellar tendon. Do you need help and advice in this area? If you do, please do not hesitate to contact me personally. I would be happy to help.
If you have experienced jumper’s knee symptoms in the past but have not allowed time for the injury to heal correctly, then this may result in an increased likelihood of developing chronic jumpers knee.
Jumpers knee treatment
What can the dancer do?
The dancer can treat the injury themselves depending on the extent or grade of the injury. A more severe injury may require longer rest and may result in surgery. Rest from training in mild to moderate cases, reduction in impact and jumping activities may be suitable.
Apply cold therapy if the tendon is painful for ten minutes at one time to reduce pain. As you know from my previous posts and my workshops, ice only reduces pain for a short period of time. It does NOT reduce inflammation. If you disagree with this statement feel free to message me personally and I would be happy to explain in more detail.
Wearing a knee support, using KT tape or a jumper’s knee strap can reduce pain and ease the strain on the tendon. A jumpers knee strap wraps around the tendon just below the knee changing the angle of the tendon against the patella which changes the part of the tendon the forces are transmitted. But, like the ice this is only a temporary solution.
Following a suitable stretching routine and attending physical therapy sessions would also be beneficial.
If you need any help, advice, guidance or if you would like to book an appointment to arrange a physical therapy session or to put a program together for you please do not hesitate to contact me personally. I would be happy to help.
I hope you found this short blog helpful.
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Peter O’ Grady
Author of ‘Upping Your Step’
Irish Dancing Physical Fitness