Patellar tendonopathy (commonly known as jumper’s knee) is an chronic injury of the patellar tendon, which runs from just below the kneecap to the upper part of the shin. A dancer may experience swelling and pain at the front of the knee while landing from a jump, going down stairs, sitting for long period of time with the knees bent, or doing a grand plié.
Jumper’s knee can appear (or become exacerbated) by dancing on hard floors, and/or performing a lot of repetitive jumping. It is more common in male dancers. The condition can be worse in dancers with particularly tight quadriceps muscles, or dancers lacking strength in eccentric contractions (such as the tightening of the muscles in a grand plié.
Diagnosis & Treatment:
Jumper’s knee is a chronic condition that tend to worsen over time. Pain is often localized to a very specific region directly below the kneecap, and a physician can palpate the area to determine a diagnosis. Another technique to to inject an anesthetic to the area under the patella and if pain is relieved immediately, it is likely that you have Jumper’s Knee.
Proper rehabilitation of jumper’s knee requires strengthening and stretching the quadriceps femoris. These muscles attach to the knee on the front side of each thigh and control extensions of the leg and protect the knee during landings from jumps. Conservative treatments include ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, modified activity and physical therapy. By starting treatment early on you help to avoid the need for more aggressive treatments such as corticosteroid or Protein-Rich Plasma injections.
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