Knee > Jumper's Knee > Treatments

    Non-Surgical Treatment

Home Recovery

Your doctor may recommend rest to ease the pain and swelling associated with jumper's knee (patellar tendinitis). You may want to follow the routine known as R.I.C.E., which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation:

   Rest - Your doctor will likely suggest that you take it easy for several days, so it may be wise to clear your schedule of any physical activities.

   Ice - Initially, your doctor may recommend applying ice packs to the knee for about 20 minutes every three or four hours. You will probably need to do this for two or three days or until the pain subsides.

   Compression - A knee sleeve will compress the knee and help keep the swelling down. Make sure to use a sleeve without a "donut," or hole, over the kneecap. The sleeve should be worn until the swelling goes away.

   Elevation - Elevating your knee above the level of your heart will help reduce swelling by dispersing excess fluid away from the injured area.

   Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen may also be recommended or prescribed. They will help reduce the swelling and hasten the healing of the tendon. You probably should not do the activity that caused the problem, especially if it requires jumping, until the tendon has healed.


Your physician may prescribe a neoprene knee sleeve to help ease the stress on the tendon. A knee sleeve will help stabilize your knee and take the pressure off the patellar tendon so that it does not become further overused or painful. A sleeve compresses the tendon, which is located just below the kneecap, and helps prevent further injury while you are exercising or doing your activities. There are various types of sleeves, but most are the type that simply slide up the leg and have a hole in front for the kneecap. They are flexible and you should be able to wear one comfortably throughout the day. The sleeve, which fits easily under normal clothing, should be worn during physical exercise. If there is no improvement after six to eight weeks, you should consult your physician as a different treatment may be necessary.

Rehabilitation [top]

If you and your doctor decide on a physical rehabilitation treatment for your jumper's knee (patellar tendinitis), you will most likely need to do several exercises to stretch the quadriceps muscle and build strength around the knee so the patellar tendon is less stressed when you are active. Your physician will probably recommend that you do not begin exercises until swelling and pain have been reduced. For the first two or three days, he will likely suggest applying ice packs on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every three or four hours. Your doctor may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory; these may be over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or may be prescription drugs. Once the pain and swelling have subsided, you should be ready to begin exercises. The goal is to increase range of motion and to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Stronger quadriceps will help absorb strain on the patellar tendon and reduce the chances of developing tendinitis again. Doing gentle leg exercises is usually the best way to begin - you need to exercise the muscles but you should not be doing so much that you have discomfort or pain. Extending and flexing your leg or riding a stationary bicycle at low tension should initially suffice. Do not do anything that puts too much strain on the area. As the tendon heals, your doctor may tell you that it is OK to return to your regular exercise routine.


Recovery from jumper's knee can take six weeks to six months, depending on the severity and the success of treatment. Everyone heals at a different rate, so the important factor is how your knee is responding, not how much time has passed. Your physician will determine when you are ready to return to your activities, but these are generally the things he or she will look for when making that determination:

   Can you straighten and bend your knee without pain?

   Has the swelling subsided?

   Is your affected knee as strong as the other knee?

   Can you walk, jog and sprint without limping?

   Can you jump without pain?

   Can you change directions while running or run in a circular fashion without pain?


   Knee strengthening exercises: Kneecap (patella) injuries

Prevention [top]

Because jumper's knee (patellar tendinitis) is usually caused by overuse that irritates the tendon and causes inflammation and pain, it can best be prevented by having strong, flexible thigh muscles. Because tight muscles and tendons are the ones most likely to be irritated by activity, warming up before starting an activity should be considered essential so that the hamstring and thigh muscles are properly stretched. Rest between activities is also very important. It may be a good idea to continue exercises that help keep the thigh muscles strong and better enable all of the muscles around the knee to absorb the shock of eccentric loading - that is, when a muscle stretches and contracts at the same time, as happens when a person jumps or lunges. Should symptoms of tendinitis recur, you should consult your physician as a more aggressive approach, up to and including surgery, may be needed.

Non-Surgical Treatment
   Home Recovery

Copyright 2007 | Insall Scott Kelly® Institute. All Rights Reserved.