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Q&A: How to Comeback from Jumper's Knee

Erik Charlton / flickr

Q: My doctor recently diagnosed me with "jumper's knee" and told me that my knee tends to move in. What exercises should I be doing to strengthen my knee and the muscles around it so I can stop missing time on the basketball court?

A: Jumper's knee, or patellar tendinitis, is a common condition in sports that require explosive jumping, running, and kicking movements, such as basketball, volleyball or soccer. The stressful force from these movements are amplified by problems like muscle imbalances, overuse or poor mechanics. This causes the painful swelling in the patellar tendon.

Before jumping back into training and games again, make sure you have given yourself plenty of rest. It could take as long as two to four weeks before your knee is ready to begin again. Remember, a lack of regeneration could be one of the reasons you are in this situation in the first place. Your best bet is to see a qualified physical therapist who specializes in sport to treat your specific needs.

But when the painful symptoms have subsided, incorporate a few movements into your movement prep routine to help you regain strength, make your joints more pliable, and prevent future injuries. Try the following moves, courtesy of Jennifer Lewis, PT, ATC, a performance physical therapist with Athletes' Performance.

  1. Prone Quad Stretch with Glute Contraction
    How to do it: Lie facedown on the floor and pull your foot to your butt. Squeeze your butt muscles—this will help relax the muscles on the front of your thigh. Hold for a few beats, then lower your leg back down and repeat for 6-8 reps.
  2. Sidelying Clamshells
    External Rotation
    Internal Rotation 
  3. Soft Tissue Massage
    Foam roll - Quads, IT Band, Groin
    Use a massage stick to roll through your quadriceps, iliotibial band, and groin.

Tags: Knee, Regeneration, Injury, Reduce Pain, Basketball, Rehabilitation, Q&A