serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Jumper’s Knee: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention (1 of 2)

posted by Chris Barber

So my self prognosis was close, I don’t have runner’s knee, I have jumper’s knee.  It makes sense, even though I am a runner, I used to be a jumper when I was in the 82nd Airborne Division.  My knee was X-rayed and examined by an Orthopedic doctor who specializes in sports medicine.  He said he had dealt with a lot of runners and he seemed to know what he was talking about.  The thing that makes me the most confident in his prognosis though is that he listened.  Before he said anything he listened to my problem, asked me how I was feeling, and what kind of activities I had been doing before even touching my knee.  Anyone can go to school for years, memorize all sorts of facts, take out student loans, make decisions that affect other people’s health, and wear long white coats but it takes a true genius to listen.  More importantly, listen to me, I’ve got so much great stuff to say!  Wait.  If it takes a genius to listen, but I have important things to say…Here’s what Jumper’s Knee is all about:


Jumper’s Knee, or Patellar Tendonitis for you scientists types, is the inflammation to the band of tissue that connects the knee cap to the shin bone.  Otherwise known as that long, skin colored piece on the right in the picture above going over the knee cap.  Jumper’s Knee can be developed from a number of repeated activities such as jumping (also see trampoline knee), running, walking, or bicycling.  Also, some people may develop jumper’s knee who have problems with the way their hips, legs, knees, or feet align.

Some of the symptoms of jumper’s knee include pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon, swelling in knee joint, pain with jumping or running, pain with bending or straightening the leg, or tenderness in the knee-cap.  I personally have three of these five symptoms.  The main symptom that lead me to go to the doctor, my knee giving out on an easy run, the doctor said is not a symptom usually seen in Jumper’s Knee.  Go figure.  This brings me back to knowing your body.  No two people’s symptoms are the same, even for the same injury, so no matter what, it takes some self-prognosis or self-awareness.

Click here to learn more about the treatment and prevention of jumper’s knee.  Overall, the doctor gave me clearance to begin running again which if nothing else, gives me the confidence to get back out there and run without severely injuring myself.  I’m going to take it easy, do some swimming and stationary bike to supplement my running.  I want nothing more than to lace up and run 20 miles right now but I have to hold myself back.  I will also be doing some physical therapy twice a week for 4 weeks which should help.  Before I start a training plan, I will be testing my knee this long weekend on a trail running trip and running a fun 5K in Raleigh, NC called the Skirt Chasers.  You’re lucky I have a bum knee ladies.

Tags: , ,


  1. Moyaka says:

    I had and still have this condition. I feel it began because my Middle School track coach had me practicing hurdles on pavement – a form of jumping… My condition was chronic and ultimately after many years of trying to work it out on my I own, I had a Lateral Release surgery on both knees. This was while still in high school over (cough, cough) years ago. Though the surgery did decrease the pain (at that point I could no longer compete in Track & Field, take my dance lessons or perform, or walk up stairs without tearing up), I still have trouble with my knees today. It still hurts to run and often times do everyday tasks, such as walking, stairs, kneeling, lunges, squats, sky diving…, well this isn’t everyday, but landing from any jump at any still height hurts. It doesn’t have to be that way though. I was young and pushed myself when I needed to listen to my body! My advice – if it hurts – follow the DR’s orders! Do the rehabilitation exercises, rest it, ice it and be smart about your activities. It’s great that you’re going to try taking the strain off with swimming and biking sometimes as an alternative so you don’t have to stop doing what you “seriously” love!

    1. Chris Barber says:

      Thanks for the motivation. You are right the hardest part is not doing something that I ‘seriously’ love. Good one. So what happened that led you to have surgery? Did your knee lock up? It sucks that you aren’t able to do somethings you love but I’m glad you’re staying off you knees as much as possible. Read tomorrow for ways to prevent and some rehabilitation exercises.

  2. [...] Race about 8 times.  As you may know, about two months ago I developed Patellar Tendonitis, or Jumper’s Knee.  Since then I haven’t been 100%, only running about 4 days a week and have not been able to [...]

  3. [...] I know a lot of runners that have gotten Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  The Iliotibial band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside the thigh, also called the IT band, for your hipsters (no pun intended).  It functions as a stabilizer on the outside of the knee joint during your runs.  Some symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome are pain on the outside part of your knee or lower though.  This pain might worsen going up or down stairs or getting out of a car.  I wouldn’t know though, I drive a tractor trailer truck and just jump out of it.  Maybe that’s why I got Jumper’s Knee… [...]

  4. [...] walking.”  I have been frustrated with my running.  I developed Jumper’s Knee, or Patellar Tendonitis, about 4 months ago.  When that happened I took 3 weeks off of running.  It was a tough 3 [...]

  5. [...] first became injured on May 19th of last year with Jumper’s Knee.  Over the past year I have been nursing this injury, never fully recovering.  I have undergone [...]

  6. [...] So I jumped on the treadmill to see what Lee could teach me about minimalist running to cure my own knee injury.  Since I was on a treadmill and not running a lot of miles the pain difference in my knees [...]