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Knee pain and basketball

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Jumpers Knee

With basketball becoming more and more popular, basketball related injuries are increasingly seen in the clinic. Knee pain can be a common issue/injury that presents. Between 2005-2007, 14.7% of injuries sustained in US high school basketball competitions was to the knee (Borowski 2008), second only to the foot and ankle, at 39.7%.

One of the main injuries to the athlete’s knee that can present to our clinic is patellar tendinopathy. This is often referred to as “Jumpers Knee”. We tend to see this issue in athletes that are more athletic, more explosive and better jumpers! It therefore makes sense that the main athletes bouncing on into the clinic with tendon pain are basketballers and volleyballers, primarily the elite male athletes (13.5% males vs 5.6% females (Lian 2005)).

This can be a significantly debilitating injury that can potentially last for longer than 15 years and cause early sport retirement (Kettunen 2002).

As sports physiotherapists, we can provide treatments for tendon related pain looking at numerous risk factors that exist that may be playing a role with your tendon pain. These include:

  • Poor landing technique
    • Using stiff landing strategies
  • Poor training loads
  • Poor leg flexibility
    • Particularly the back of the leg – hamstrings, calf muscle complex
  • Decreased ankle range of motion (dorsiflexion)
    • This can occur following an ankle injury (particularly common in basketball players!)

Now whats nice lately is that we have a new weapon in our arsenal against knee tendon pain. Dr Ebonie Rio and her team of fellow researchers published recent findings on using isometric exercises to help assist tendon rehabilitation. One of the teams articles is available via open access through the British Journal of Sports Medicine (see this link – and provides a great overview of the research.

Now this new treatment tool is useful to help with both diagnosis and treatment. Utilising with treatment it can provide a significant immediate reduction in pain. Implementation can be begun with utilisation of a Spanish squat to provide resistance and the following parameters:

  • 5 reps
  • ~30-45 seconds hold
  • 2 minute rest between reps
  • 4 x per day

Now part of Dr Rio’s research also discusses the importance of incorporation of our brain with tendon rehabilitation. This can be done utilising a metronome (available as an app on your iphone), which helps to focus our attention to the task at hand.

Now not everyone will be able to start with these exact parameters described above, every tendon is different. As stated above, this is just a new treatment tool that can help with rehabilitation of Jumpers knee, for a thorough assessment and individualised rehabilitation program, call us on 4356 2588 to schedule an appointment.