Patellar tendonitis is an “overuse” injury that nearly every jumper is going to deal with at some point in their career. Perhaps that is why it is called “jumper's knee.” The following will help you to recover quickly and get back to regular training and performance.
- Balanced quads and hamstrings are often a cause of patellar tendonitis. When the hamstring is tight this will cause more tension on the quadriceps. This tension is then transferred to the patellar tendon, which can aggravate micro tears and not allow the tendon to fully relax and recover. Stretching your quads and hams thoroughly after exercises and every day is a great way to release tension on the patellar tendon.
- Along the same lines developing balanced strength in the ham and quad is going to allow your tendon to relax. The exercises in The Jump Manual focus on building balanced muscle strength, as well as build up the supporting muscles and tendons of the knee.
- I know you know this already, but icing your knees every days is a NECESSITY. Your knees will have some inflammation after exercises and that inflammation can increase the damage done to the tendon. Over time this become significant. I use ice wraps that make the icing process much easier. You can store them in your freezer, and easily wrap them around your knees and go about your business.
- Taking an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen can also help to reduce inflammation. If you prefer cinnamon is also a natural anti inflammatory agent, so you can add a teaspoon to your shakes.
- If you often run, or do other cardio I would recommend switching to something that will reduce how often you place impact on your knees. Swimming, biking, or an elliptical are great substitutes. All plyos should jump ONTO a box to remove the amount of landing impacts on the knee. Remove the most painful exercises until you can resume without pain.
- You can take your plyometrics workouts to the pool to still get a nice workout and take strain off your knees. This can allow you to still make progress while also helping your knees to recover.
- Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM as well as fish oil supplements are also good ways to supplement your diet for repairing supporting tissues like the patellar tendon.
- Knee sleeve – Get yourself a cloth/elastic knee sleeve to keep your knee warm, decrease swelling, and aid with patella tracking. These can make a difference really!
- Get your knees elevated during sleep to reduce swelling during the night. Place a cushion or pillow under your knees and get the knees above your heart.
- Eccentric exercises on a slant board: Get a slanted surface that is form 25 – 40 degree angle (toes pointed down). Each night before bed stand on the slant board and perform a squat to 90 degree angle, on the down or eccentric portion count to 3 slowly, and go up at the count of 1. IF you have pain above a 5 on a scale from 1 – 10 stop. You may do up to 2 sets of 10 reps, or until minor pain (1 – 5) is felt. You should continue to do this each day. If pain ever goes above a 5 cease performing the exercise each day until you can perform it at lower levels of pain. As soon as you are able to complete the exercise with no pain, you should add weight in increments of 5 pounds (easiest to use a backpack). Do not add weight prematurely. If weight causes pain continue doing the reps without weight or with lesser weight – this is not to strengthen muscles, it is to stimulate tendon regeneration. When you achieve 30 pounds, switch to doing one leg at a time. Eccentric exercise has been shown to stimulate tissue regeneration in tendons. This daily regime should not be rigorous and will take steady dedication. It is normal to have low amounts of pain but anything over a 5 should signal you to stop the exercise until you can do it in low levels of pain.
- Epson salt baths and ultra sound therapy have also been an aid in the recovery process.
- Contrast showers or treatments can help blood flow to the area and accelerate healing. The heat dilates the vessels and the cold contracts them to flush old blood out and new blood an platelets in.
- When you are strong enough mastering the 'single leg squat' done without support is a great way to strengthen and stabilize the leg and knee. If you are not proficient with these you will be more prone to injuries.
- Mastering landing with "depth drops" will also minimize damage done when landing and jumping.
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