Runner’s knee and jumper’s knee are broad terms used when discussing anterior knee pain or patellofemoral pain. These conditions are related to overuse. Squatting, lunging, running and jumping cause repetitive stress to this area creating unwanted inflammation and pain. In addition to the repetitive stresses, muscular imbalances, muscular tightness or weakness can be a contributing factor to these symptoms.
The knee is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the human body. The joint and its components function together to provide stability and power for activities of daily living and athletic movements. The gliding motion of the patella is stabilized with additional soft tissue structures such as ligaments, muscles, tendons, synovial tissue and the fat pad beneath the patella. Muscles are connected to the bone by tendons. Muscles and tendons provide the motion of the joint. The quadriceps (thigh muscle) is connected to the patella (knee cap) by the quadriceps tendon. After crossing over the patella, the patellar tendon inserts onto the tibial tubercle (upper portion of your shin). These tendons promote knee extension – straightening of the knee.
However, any of these structures can be injured or damaged requiring treatment as easy as rest and therapy to as complex as surgery to correct. Regardless, either treatment will typically allow a full return to activity or sports without additional complications.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and Symptoms of these conditions are most commonly associated with a dull ache overlying the anterior or front of the knee. Typically begins gradually and as activity continues symptoms worsen. As they worsen the dull ache can become sharp. They can become debilitating especially with repetitive climbing, squatting, jumping and lunging. Bouts of instability may occur from pain and weakness. Instability, cracking, popping, grinding, stiffness with prolonged sitting and swelling can exist with these conditions.
Diagnosis will be dete