Knee injuries are one of the most common reasons why people seek medical help. Even though knee problems can often be treated at home, in some cases, they can become serious and even require surgical treatment. This is especially true if you ignore the symptoms and continue to work out.

Jumper’s knee and runner’s knee are common conditions affecting the knee, especially occurring in those who engage in various sports. As you can tell from the name, the jumper’s knee is more common among those who engage in sports that require jumping, while the runner’s knee is more common among those who engage in sports that require running.

Continue reading about these two knee conditions to learn what their differences or similarities are.

What Is Jumper’s Knee?

Jumper’s knee, or as it is also known as patellar tendinitis, is a medical condition characterized by an injury of the tendons that connect the patella to the shinbone (tibia). Patellar tendons with muscles at the front of the thigh work together to extend the knee while jumping, running, or kicking. This condition usually occurs in athletes that jump a lot, like basketball players or volleyball players. However, patellar tendonitis can affect anyone, regardless of they have to do with jumping or not.

Repeated stress to the patellar tendons causes tears, which the human body tries to repair. Due to this repeated stress, they continue to tear even more, causing pain due to the inflammation and a weakening of the tendons.

Signs and symptoms of Jumper’s knee are pain usually located between the patella and the shinbone, swelling of the knee, stiffness, and even redness around the knee.

When diagnosed with patellar tendinitis, treatment should be started as soon as possible to return within a short period of time to your daily activities and sports. One of the most important things in the treatment of the jumper’s knee is rest. You can take over-the-counter painkillers to control the pain while applying ice packs on the affected knee a couple of times a day will speed up the recovery.

Physical therapy is very important in treating the jumper’s knee as it can reduce its signs and symptoms. Stretching exercises will help reduce muscle spasms. While strengthening exercises will help strengthen the muscles of the thigh.

Corticosteroid injections are also beneficial when applied directly into the sheath around the patellar tendons, as they will help relieve the pain. These corticosteroid injections could also cause even more tendon tears as the drug can weaken the tendons even more. When other treatment methods have failed to resolve this condition, surgery might be recommended.

What Is Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s knee, or as it is otherwise known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, is a knee condition that tends to affect athletes, especially those who run.

It can be caused by various factors like knee overuse and overtraining, excessive body weight, ankle or hip injuries, training errors, etc. Gender also seems to play a role, as a runner’s knee is more commonly seen among female athletes than male athletes. Female athletes tend to develop runners’ knees more often because they have wider hips and a different knee alignment than males.

Characteristic signs and symptoms of Runner’s knee is pain at the front of the knee, behind and around the kneecap, which tends to get worse during particular movements like prolonged sitting, squatting, or running. As the name tells it, Runner’s knee is most common in individuals who have repetitive stress to the patellofemoral joint while engaging in different kinds of sports that involve running.

What Is the Difference Between a Jumper’s Knee and Runner’s Knee?

Both these conditions, jumper’s knee and runner’s knee, are quite similar, and sometimes it can be very difficult to know for certain which is the correct diagnosis when knee problems occur. But what are the differences between these two conditions and their similarities?

Jumper’s knee symptoms are:

  • Sharp and throbbing pain at the bottom of the kneecap and in front of the knee,
  • Knee pain when running, kicking, or bending the knee,
  • The knee pain tends to get worse while climbing the stairs or bending down,
  • The range of motion can be reduced as well,
  • Mild swelling around the kneecap can also occur.

Runner’s knee symptoms are:

  • Dull and itchy pain around the kneecap, in front and behind of the kneecap,
  • Knee pain when getting up from a sitting position, squatting, kneeling, running, and even walking,
  • The pain tends to get worse while walking downstairs,
  • A popping sound is sometimes noticeable,
  • Mild swelling around the knee can also occur.

Jumper’s knee causes are:

  • Repeated strain from high-intensity activities,
  • High impact training,
  • Sports and exercises that involve direct changing and jumping movements,
  • Knee overuse.

Runner’s knee causes are:

  • Repeated strain from running,
  • High impact training,
  • Running, biking, or engaging in other activities that cause bending of the knee,
  • Knee overuse.

The best way to protect yourself from both of these conditions is by exercising correctly and by wearing supportive shoes. The old shoes should be supplemented with insoles, while it is even better to replace the shoes more often. After an injury, start it slowly with stretching and physical therapy exercises before starting with high-impact exercises and fast movement exercises.

Take all the time you need to heal completely. Make sure not to ignore the symptoms and continue with your regular exercising routine, as for sure, your condition will worsen, and you might end up having knee surgery.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us and get diagnosed as soon as possible. The sooner you start with the treatment, the better it will be and the faster you recover.

Physical Therapy Brooklyn in the Press