Print This Page

Jumper's Knee

An increasing number of boys and girls are playing recreational and organized sports. As a result, there is a rise in the number of overuse injuries seen among children and adolescents. The majority of sports and overuse injuries are due to minor trauma involving soft tissue injuries--injuries that affect the bone, muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons.

Jumper's Knee, or Patellar Tendonitis, is one of those injuries. Symptoms include tenderness right below the knee or the upper shin area. Possible cause: The patellar tendon in the knee joint is repeatedly pulled on, causing inflammation and pain, especially during jumping activities.

Overuse injuries can also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures are weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse. Stress fractures often occur in the foot after training for basketball, running, and other sports. There usually is no swelling, but pain and tenderness often increase during movement.

Treatment of an overuse injury

Specific treatment for an overuse injury will be determined by your child's doctor based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Type of condition

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to control the pain, promote healing, prevent complications, and restore normal use of the injured area.

Initial treatment for overuse injuries includes R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

Be sure to consult your child's doctor if there is a prolonged, visible deformity of the affected area, or if severe pain prevents use of the arm, leg, wrist, ankle, or knee.

Other treatment options may include:

  • Medications

  • Activity restrictions

  • Splint or cast

  • Crutches or wheelchair

  • Physical therapy (to stretch and strengthen the injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons)

  • Surgery (especially if the injury is reoccurring, there is persistent pain, or if a muscle, tendon, or ligament is badly torn)

Long-term outlook for children with overuse injuries

Overuse injuries heal quite quickly in children. It is important that the child adhere to the activity restrictions and/or stretching and strengthening rehabilitation programs to prevent reinjury.

Most sports injuries are due to either traumatic injury or overuse of muscles or joints. Many sports injuries can be prevented with proper conditioning and training, wearing appropriate protective gear, and using proper equipment.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 314.454.5437 or 800.678.5437 or email us.

US News Best Children's Hospital 2013-14 - Orthopedics
Orthopedics ranked by U.S. NewsRead more

Patient Story