How to fix jumper’s knee | Total Performance Physical Therapy |

Jumper’s knee or also sometimes called runner’s knee is associated with a pain in the front of the knee.  The knee is the hub of activity for the lower leg.  It controls the activity between the hip and foot with many of the muscles of the hip and foot attaching at or near the knee.  So when there is pain in the knee and it wasn’t from a fall or trauma then you have to pay attention to the foot and the hip in order to eliminate the pain at the knee.

Pain with jumper’s knee is usually right at the bottom of the knee cap, at the quadriceps tendon.  This is where the group of quadricep muscles comes together and attach.  The quadriceps are the group of muscles in the front of the leg and the hamstrings are the group of muscles in the back of the leg.  These two muscle groups are often confused.

Unfortunately when people treat jumper’s knee, they often will only treat the knee and the treatment will not be successful.  So we want to start by looking at the hip and knee complex and how they work together by doing a single leg squat.  You want to have someone watch this squat or do it in front of a mirror so you can see the quality of the squat.   You can click here to watch our you tube video that show you what you should be looking for in a single leg squat.

When you perform the single the squat you want to watch your knee.  There are 2 things that you want to look for.  Does it wobble?  Does it go inward?  If the answer to either one of these questions is yes, then you have hip weakness that is associated with your knee pain.  When you lack hip strength it means that your hip has to work harder to keep your knee steady, specifically your quads have to work harder and that will cause an inflammation of the quad tendon.

This repeated wobble of the knee will happen every time that you run, forcing your quads and other muscles to work harder to stabilize the knee.  With the muscles having to work harder, it will cause inflammation and pain with running and jumping.  That is why hip weakness must be addressed when talking about jumper’s knee.

3 important exercises to do

  1.  Single leg stand – This is important to begin with because single leg activities will help you strengthen the hips.  Start off by just standing on one leg.  You can do this while you are brushing your teeth or doing the dishes.  If you are able to do this for 30 seconds without touching the other foot to the ground then put a pillow under your foot and close your eyes.
  2.  Single leg squat –  Here the testing exercise becomes the exercise to correct the problem.  You want to go as low as you can but make sure that you not letting your knee wobble and you want to make sure that the knee is going right over the toes.  The goal is to squat to the floor.  But that is going to take some time.  Start going as far down as you feel comfortable.  Do 3 sets of 10 on each leg.  You can also put a band around your knee to help stabilize it.
  3. The standing figure four stretch –  You can also do this exercise sitting down but this is just a different variation that you can do throughout the day.  Cross your ankle over your knee and squat down.  You should feel stretch in the hip or in the back of the leg.  Hold this for 30 seconds and do 6 sets.

It is important to note that poor balance is not inherited.  Most people will tell me that their parents had poor balance so that is why they do.  Whether or not your parents could balance has nothing to do with whether you can.  Balance must be practiced in order to be good at it just like anything else.

Remember it’s really important to understand that if your hips are not loose and if your hips are not strong or if there’s some type of restriction in your hips, that\’s going to lead to your muscles being used differently in the legs and therefore inflammation to the quadriceps tendon and the development of jumpers knee.

If you are experiencing knee pain in Hatfield or knee pain in Harleysville then call our office at 215-997-9898 to get a free consultation!


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