Jumper’s knee, also called patellar tendinitis, occurs most often in athletes who participate in sports involving frequent jumping, such as volleyball and basketball. It can also occur in non sportspeople.
Causes of jumper’s knee include:
Overuse of the patellar tendon resulting in tiny tears.
Weakening of the tendon leading to tendinopathy.
Physical exertion or a sudden increase in the intensity of training.
Tight hamstrings or thigh muscles which increase strain on the patellar tendon.
Chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or lupus.
To prevent jumper’s knee:
Strengthen your thigh muscles to decrease stress on the patellar tendon.
Follow the advice of a professional coach to develop good techniques.
If you experience pain or discomfort, stop exercising.
A ruptured patellar tendon normally occurs following an awkward landing from a jumping position. Sometimes you might hear a snapping sound or feel a popping sensation. You will normally be unable to walk following the injury.
Chronic disease leading to weakening of the patellar tendon.
To prevent a ruptured tendon, warm up properly before exercising and stop if you experience any pain. Take extra care if you have a medical condition that can cause tendon weakness.
The medial collateral ligament connects your thighbone to your shinbone, helping to keep your knee stable. An MCL injury is the most commonly occurring knee ligament injury. It can be a partial or a complete tear and can be accompanied by a cruciate ligament or meniscus tear.
A blow to the outside of your leg causing your knee to be pushed inwards.
Twisting your knee, for example as the result of a skiing injury.
Falling, particularly in older people.
To prevent an MCL injury listen to your body and stop when you are getting tired. Always wear the right footwear and be sure to warm up thoroughly before physical activity. A good coach can help you to develop the right technique.
A hamstring injury occurs in one of the three muscles that run along the back of your thigh. They are common in sports that involve sprinting and suddenly stopping or changing direction, such as football or tennis. They can also occur in dancers and runners.
Overstretching the hamstring muscles.
Sprinting, running or stretching.
Lack of strength or flexibility in the hamstring muscles.
Weakness or previous injury.
To prevent hamstring injuries build up your fitness gradually and do not overexert yourself. Strengthening exercises and regular stretching can help to prevent damage to hamstring muscles. It is important to warm up properly before exercising.
Knee sprains and strains occur when the ligaments in the knee joint become stretched or torn. These might include the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, the Medial Collateral Ligament and the Lateral Collateral Ligament.
Causes of knee sprain include:
Sudden twists of the knee or stopping suddenly.
Over-straightening or hyperextension of the knee.
A direct blow to the knee.
Falling with the knee bent.
A vehicle accident.
To prevent knee sprains, build up your fitness gradually and do not overexert yourself or increase the intensity of your workout too quickly. Always warm up properly before exercising and use strengthening exercises and stretches to build muscle flexibility.
Osgood Schlatter disease occurs most often in children and athletes who play sports that involve running and jumping, such as basketball, football and ballet, as well as climbing. It often develops following a growth spurt and causes a bony bump just below the knee. It may affect one or both knees and is the result of the thigh muscle pulling on the tendon that connects the kneecap to the top of the shinbone. Repeated stress can produce pain and swelling. Occasionally new bone growth can result in the development of a painful, bony lump.
It is not always possible to prevent the condition however it is linked to tightness in the thigh muscles so regular stretching to keep the muscles flexible may help. Regular exercise to strengthen the lower body may also help to prevent the condition.
The condition does not often require treatment as the symptoms normally disappear when the bones stop growing. If it is painful, painkillers and anti-inflammatories may be used, along with physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch the thigh muscles. A patellar tendon strap may be used to relieve tension. In rare cases surgery may be needed to remove the bony overgrowth. It is important to rest the knee while it is healing and to avoid doing deep knee bends.
Prepatellar bursitis is inflammation of the bursa at the front of the kneecap. Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that help to cushion the bones and soft tissues and reduce friction. If irritation occurs, the bursa may become hot and inflamed. The condition is painful and causes tenderness, warmth and swelling.
Prepatellar bursitis is normally due to pressure from constant kneeling. It is common in gardeners, plumbers and other people whose job involves spending a long time on their knees. It can also be caused by a blow to the kneecap or by conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. Infectious bursitis is caused by bacterial infection, normally due to a puncture wound. It can cause a fever and requires urgent treatment with antibiotics.
To prevent the condition, avoid kneeling for extended periods wherever possible and use kneepads to cushion the kneecap.
A physical examination is used to diagnose prepatellar bursitis. You may be given an X-ray to rule out a fracture and/or an MRI or CT scan to check the extent and location of any soft tissue injuries. If your doctor thinks you may have infectious bursitis, a small sample of fluid may be drawn from the site and sent to the laboratory for testing.
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