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Exercise can help with the treatment of jumper's knee.
Have you ever felt a nagging knee pain while climbing stairs or kneeling? If so, you may have experienced the dreaded jumper's knee. Don't let the name fool you. Jumper's knee, also called patellar tendonitis, occurs when the patellar tendon below the kneecap becomes inflamed. As the name implies, you use this tendon to jump. Likewise, you use this tendon when you bend and straighten your legs. When the tendon goes awry pain strikes just below the kneecap. You may also experience stiff knees and general discomfort.
Patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury, caused by too much activity with too little rest. You may find yourself at risk of this if you suddenly increase physical activity. Jumper's knee also stems from tight leg muscles or muscle imbalances, notes the Mayo Clinic. Fortunately, jumper's knee can be prevented and relieved by taking the strain off the tendon. You can do this by strengthening the leg muscles, specifically the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.
A simple exercise, the squat targets all of the thigh muscles. Begin your squat in a standing position with both hands extended in front of the body. Slowly lower your body as if you are sitting in a chair. Continue until the thighs are parallel with the floor. To return to the standing position, squeeze your glutes, and then slowly return to stand. Do this 15 times. During squat exercises, remember to keep the back straight and your knees aligned with your toes.
Straight Leg Raise
The straight leg raise strengthen muscles around your hips and thighs. To start this exercise, grab a mat and lie on your back with both legs flat on the mat. Then, contract the muscle on one leg. Keeping this leg straight, lift the tightened leg up to 10 inches off the floor. Pause. Then slowly lower leg to the ground. Do this exercise 15 times then repeat on the other leg. Keep in mind that you may only be able to lift your leg a few inches off the floor at first. This will improve as you gain strength. If the exercise still seems difficult, bend the resting leg, placing the foot on the floor.
Step-ups need a box or step that's preferably between 3 and 5 inches high, suggests the Memorial Sports Medicine Institute. Start by facing the box in a standing position. With one leg, step on the platform. Then bring the second leg to the platform. Step down with the second leg and repeat. Do three sets of 10 repetitions with each leg. If you need more of a challenge, add dumbbells or increase the height of the step.
If you've been injured, don't try these exercises without consulting a physician or physical therapist first. Pain should never be ignored. If pain occurs during these or any other exercises, stop immediately. Instead, focus on recovery and flexibility.