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What could be causing pain in the front of my knee? Jumpers Knee vs Runners Knee?

Anterior Knee pain!! Jumpers knee? Runners Knee? Whats the difference between them both two? is the management of the injury any different? So let’s talk go into more detail on the two injury’s.

The two most common causes for anterior knee pain are due to patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), also known as ‘Runners Knee’ or a patellar tendinopathy “Jumpers Knee”

There are a few potential mechanisms of injury for PFPS a.k.a 'Runners knee'. These include an increase Q angle in females causing the knee to go into a valgus while exercising. An increase in Q angle is the angle from the lateral point of the hips to the front of the knee. Obviously, this angle is increased in women due to their naturally wider pelvis. This may potentially explain why PFPS is more commonly seen in women at a higher rate than men.

This can disrupt the tracking of the patella, causing the anterior knee pain. Other factors include the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles which are 2 of the 4 muscles that make up your quadriceps. It has been shown that people that present with PFPS have a delayed or non-engaged vastus medialis compared to the vastus lateralis. Similar to the Q angle issue which causes the dysfunctional tracking of the patella, which can cause pain. Weak external rotator hip muscles, the glute medias & minimus, have also been shown to cause this type of pain. These contributing factors, combined with the potential to over-load the knee, especially in athletes can significantly increase the chance of developing PFPS.

The management of PFPS can involve a range of different non-surgical interventions. They can include taping around the patellar; this is to improve the tracking of the patella, which has been shown to improve patient’s pain. Physical therapy is the most important management strategy for this type of pain, which will allow for a decrease in pain and an improvement in the tracking of the patellar. Focusing on strengthening the gluteal muscles, quadriceps & hamstrings to help assist with the load that the knee must endure. Manual Therapy treatments are used to assist with the release of tight muscles, in particular in the quadriceps which can greatly improve pain and function.

Patellar Tendinopathy a.k.a 'Jumpers knee' involves inflammation & pain which is caused by the patellar tendon which attaches from the inferior aspect of your patellar bone and attaches into the top part of your shin bone (tibial tuberosity). The injury is considered to be an overuse injury where the tendon is repetitively stressed. This type of injury in predominantly seen in people that are quite active that are involved in sports that require movements such as acceleration, deceleration, cutting, pivoting, jumping, landing etc. Typically, like most tendinopathies, pain will sometimes subdue, and no effect of the function is felt once the person has ‘warmed up’ & is playing sport. Although pain & discomfort with stiffness will typically come on once the person has cooled down and starts moving around again after not moving for a while. The pain in the knee will typically not be felt at rest though.

Best management for jumpers’ knee is of course physical therapy. While manual therapies to the quadriceps muscles can help with some residual pain in the short term, resistance training is the best option as tendons love load! A gradual program to re-load the tendons in a controlled manner to allow for appropriate adaption is the best option for overcoming this form of injury.

Not exercises like this though..........

Anterior knee pain can be an annoying & painful injury to try and manage without the right knowledge.

Jumpers knee, Runners knee can be difficult to understand which one you may have so it's important to consult with a professional on this matter to help move past your injury. If you would like help or assistance with anterior knee pain, please feel free to get in contact with us on our home page or via Instagram @atem_health or click the Bookings like here to see how Clinical Myotherapy can help you.