Why Are Your Knees Swollen And Stiff And Hurt When Bending After Basketball
If a person is young, then there is no simple reason for swelling after participating in sports, says Barbara Bergin, MD, board certified orthopedic surgeon at and co-founder of Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates.
It is most likely due to an injury, and therefore an appointment with a physician is indicated.
Even if the knee feels fine later on, and even if the swelling has gone down completely and the stiff feeling has vanished, you need to see a physician whose area of expertise includes the knee.
If you dont remember an actual event that traumatized your knee, this doesnt mean its not injured. The problem could be a result of some kind of chronic stressor.
Dont assume that because the knee acts up only after some heavy pickup games of basketball that its nothing to be concerned about.
Without treatment it can become worse or become a never-ending problem. If youre afraid the doctor will tell you that you need surgery, this fear is unfounded.
If youre actually able to shoot hoops and run back and forth on the court, theres an extremely high chance that a doctor will recommend non-surgical treatment. This will probably mean taking some time off the court.
Jumpers Knee Pain Relief
One of the most common methods to reduce the pain and swelling surrounding the injured area is the R.I.C.E. method. This acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Achieve all four steps by lying down on your back with a Performa Hot & Cold Packs on and elevating your leg with the Rolyan Leg Elevating Splint. The cold pack compresses your knee, while the splint elevates your knee to reduce the blood flow. When youre not resting, its best to wear a brace or strap to compress the area, such as the Cramer Patellar Tendon Strap. Finally, get some pain relief by using a topical pain reliever like Biofreeze. Talk to your doctor for additional advice if needed.
Get everything you need for pain relief!
How The Knee Works
To understand how jumpers knee happens, it helps to understand how the knee works. The knee, which is the largest joint in the body, provides stability to the leg and allows it to bend, swivel, and straighten. Several parts of the body interact to allow the knee to function properly:
- Bones like the femur , the tibia , and the patella give the knee the strength needed to support the weight of the body. The bones that meet at the knee allow it to bend smoothly.
- Muscles provide the tug on the bones needed to bend, straighten, and support joints. The muscles around the knee include the quadriceps and the hamstring . The quadriceps muscle helps straighten and extend the leg, and the hamstring helps bend the knee.
- Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. The tendons in the front of the knee are the quadriceps tendon and the patellar tendon. The quadriceps tendon connects to the top of the patella and allows the leg to extend. The patellar tendon connects to the bottom of the kneecap and attaches to the top of the tibia.
- Similar to tendons, ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to other bones.
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What Causes Jumpers Knee
Jumpers knee results from the knee being overworked. The condition often occurs while playing sports such as basketball and volleyball. Children who do track and field are also at risk. The constant jumping and landing motions of these activities put stress on the knees. The patellar tendon then becomes inflamed.
Treatment: Acute And Long
When you feel pain or develop a sprain or strain, stop playing basketball at once, then apply the RICE method. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Apply ice packs on your knees for one to two days to reduce the inflammation. Apply a bandage around the knee then keep your leg elevated on a pillow. You may need to take anti-inflammatory medications and pain-relievers for a few days. For long-term knee injuries, you may be required to use crutches and undergo physical therapy to prevent scarring in the knee and return to full range of motion.
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Conservative Treatment Of Tendonitis
There are several conservative treatment options for tendonitis.
A common recommendation is the RICE-protocol , combined with the use of NSAIDs .
Other modalities used to deal with knee tendonitis include ultrasound treatment, deep friction massage, shockwave therapy and plasma-rich platelet injections. Speaking of injections: in his book Framework for the Knee, Nichalos DiNubile, MD, explicitly warns against cortisone shots, as they can cause a rupture of the tendon .
In physical therapy, the rehab protocols for tendonitis revolve around strengthening and stretching of the leg muscles, with a focus on stretching the quadriceps muscle group.
Keeping these traditional approaches in mind we can build on them to create an even better program for knee tendonitis. This will help us to deal with jumpers knee more thoroughly and also seems necessary, as the traditional methods of treatment apparently only provide temporary relief.
A Releases Of Lateral Hamstring
When the lateral hamstring is tight, it causes external rotation of the lower bone . This can cause the knee to cave in relative to the tibia.
- Whilst sitting on the floor, place a massage ball underneath the outside part of the back of your knee.
- Proceed to apply pressure through the ball.
- Straighten and bend your knee.
- Continue for 1 minute.
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How To Fix And Avoid Jumpers Knee Basketball
Jumpers knee, or knee pain relating to the impact of jumping, can hold people back from playing basketball due to the nature of the sport. Basketball is a sport of explosion and jumping.; It can be painful when having knee problems as knee pain will surface itself when landing after a jump. This article will propose how to avoid knee pain, and how to fix the problem if you are currently experiencing it.
How Is Jumpers Knee Treated
Your childs doctor will talk with you about the best treatment plan for your child. As instructed, your child should:
Rest from jumping or running until symptoms go away, often 2 to 4 weeks.
Ice the knee;3 to 4;times a day for;15 to 20;minutes at a time. Never put ice directly on your child’s skin. Use an ice pack or bag of frozen peasor something similarwrapped in a thin towel.
Take anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen, as directed.
Use crutches, as directed.
Wear a patellar tendon strap during exercise, if instructed.
Do exercises at home as instructed by the doctor. Your child may also be referred to a physical therapist for a supervised program of exercises. Your childs physical therapist or healthcare provider may also ask your child to do exercises at home.
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End Jumpers Knee Once And For All
Back when I suffered from patellar tendonitis, I was so frustrated with my lack of healing progress that I often considered quitting my sports, basketball and volleyball, altogether. Stretching, warming up thoroughly, quad strengthening exercises, knee sleeves, no matter what I tried, the pain always kept coming back.
Today, my knees are stronger than ever. I can do extremely demanding leg exercises, such as deep single-leg squats, without any problems. I can play my favorite sports without having to worry about aching knees and I know how I can train my legs to become even stronger without risking a return of the injury.
It took me years of research into knee health and a lot of self-experimentation until I finally discovered the reasons for my jumpers knee. Up to that point, I had completely ignored these hidden factors, but once I addressed them, my pain slowly disappeared.
In this article, I will show you the three most important secrets to successfully treating patellar tendonitis. Ive called this the jumpers knee treatment triangle, because if you ignore one of its parts, the whole thing collapses. Youll also learn an exercise with which you can heal your patellar tendons.
Cause #: Low Ankle Mobility
Ankle mobility encompasses a number of ankle movements, but the most important one for our goal is dorsiflexion. Low ankle dorsiflexion range of motion has been linked to patellar tendonitis in a number of research studies, for example and .
So what is ankle dorsiflexion?
You dorsiflex your ankle when you pull your foot up towards your knee or when you bring your knee out in front of your toes, with your foot planted. The opposite movement, plantarflexion, occurs when you point your foot away from your knee or when you push yourself up to stand on the balls of your feet.
There are two major reasons why low ankle mobility will lead to knee issues. First, if you lack ankle mobility, the body will compensate for it by increasing mobility at the neighboring joint, the knee. This increased demand of mobility will slowly overload the knee, which in time leads to pain and injury.
Secondly, if ankle mobility is low, you will have a difficult time maintaining good alignment of your leg. This is how ankle mobility is connected with the third major cause for jumpers knee .
As you can see, the evidence supporting the importance of ankle mobility for healing the patellar tendon is strong, but how do we improve it?
How to improve ankle mobility
In ankle mobility drills, you might not feel a stretch. The goal is to move the joint through its full pain-free range of motion gently. By doing this you slowly increase the range of motion of the joint.
Asymmetry Between Sides
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Exercises For Improving Balance
Since research indicates slight balance impairments may be present in bow-legged individuals, you may wish to also incorporate balance exercises into your workout routine. Some good ideas may include:
- Single leg standing: Standing on one foot
- Tandem standing: Standing with one foot directly in front of the other
- BOSU ball training: Using the BOSU balance trainer while doing exercises
Before starting any exercise program, check in with your physician and physical therapist to ensure that exercising is safe for you to do.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The anterior cruciate ligament is often injured during sports activities. Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments. Changing direction rapidly or landing from a jump incorrectly can tear the ACL. About half of all injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament occur along with damage to other structures in the knee, such as articular cartilage, meniscus, or other ligaments.
Learn more about ACL injuries:
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Look Beyond The Knees
Successful treatment starts with tendon strengthening exercises, but for long-term results you need to work on more than just the tendons. Diving into this in detail would be too much for this article, but heres an overview:
- Tissue quality and length
- Postural problems
- Mobility and stability of hip and ankle
- Muscular imbalances
- Weak gluteal muscles
We talk more about the details in my email course on getting rid of patellar tendonitis:
Do Not Play In Hard Floor Environments
Basketball is a sport that varies on its courts. There are indoor and outdoor courts. Avoid the outdoor and cement courts, or at least play on them less often than indoor courts.
Indoor courts have springs under the wooden floors to cushion your fall, outdoor courts do not. If you play on outdoor courts a lot, consider playing less outside.
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If You Cant Squat Then You Must Squat
If you avoid all squatting and lunging movements you are setting yourself up for further injuries;in the future due to the compensations your body has to make.
If you avoid bending your knees then you start to bend at the hips instead and this puts added stress on your lower back.
People with bad knees often start to suffer from bad backs!
So ultimately, unless you have serious structural damage to your knees then you should start to rehabilitate your knees as quickly as possible.
And the good news is, knees can be fixed, heres how:
Other Treatments For Jumpers Knee
Once jumpers knee has become chronic, treatment with the strengthening exercises we covered above usually takes months rather than weeks to produce results.
Unfortunately, some people confuse the slow progress these exercises provide with being stuck and since nobody wants to be in pain, the promises some of the other treatment option make seem too enticing to ignore.
However, there is no convincing evidence in academic research that these adjunct treatments provide long-term benefits for tendonitis34. Still, lets look at them in more detail.
You can use ice to manage your pain without painkillers or anti-inflammatories. However, icing didnt show any treatment benefits for patellar tendonitis35 and it temporarily reduced flexibility of the tendon it was used on36.
Patellar Tendon Straps
Patellar tendon straps can reduce pain for a short period of time for some people with patellar tendonitis39. These straps have also been shown to improve jumping mechanics40 as well as body awareness41. They may also contribute to better patellar tracking42.
Please note that these straps did not improve jumping performance43 or long term treatment outcomes of patellar tendonitis.
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Let Your Knees Get Used To Impact And Stress
Knee tendons, ligaments, and joints can all be strengthened like any other. Once you have rehabbed the knee and it is not prone to injury through rest, try to strengthen it by putting the knee through minor stress.
Here are a couple of examples.
Jumping down a small step. Make sure the step is a good size to put stress but not strain on the knee. This will allow your knee to get stronger at absorbing shock from a landing.;
Squatting with knee over toe. If you have ankle mobility, do not be afraid to allow your knee to extend outward over your feet. You will feel a slight tension on the knee bend, however, if there is no pain, this can be a good way to strengthen that knee.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The posterior cruciate ligament is often injured from a blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent. This often occurs in motor vehicle crashes and sports-related contact. Posterior cruciate ligament tears tend to be partial tears with the potential to heal on their own.
Learn more about PCL injuries:
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What Specifically Might Be Causing The Swelling And Pain When Bending
You could have whats called jumpers knee, though not all people who have this got it from jumping.
The medical term is chondromalacia patella. This is a frazzling of the cartilage thats beneath the kneecap.
After playing the sport that aggravates this common condition, the athlete may or may not see swelling.
They will feel stiffness, and some patients describe the sensation as a fullness in the knee joint.
Often, bending it brings on pain but its a dull to strong ache rather than a sharp or severe type of pain.
Conservative treatment for chondromalacia patella includes light exercises, icing and backing off of the offending activity until the condition heals. This is not an age-related condition, which is why its seen quite often among young adult athletes.
But if youre older, the swelling can be related to arthritis, says Dr. Bergin.
Rest, ice, elevation and if you can take them, try an NSAID like Aleve or Advil, and see if it gets better. If not, then go see your physician.
Dr. Berginis a general orthopedist, surgically and conservatively treating all manner of bone and joint conditions. She enjoys educating patients so they can emerge stronger than they were before their orthopedic injury or surgery.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.;;
Lateral Tibial Plateau Fracture
The tibial plateau is located at the top of the shin at the knee. A break on the outer or lateral part of the tibial plateau can cause considerable knee pain. A lateral tibial plateau fracture is often the result of a vehicle accident or a bad fall that impacts the outer knee directly.
If the bones are still aligned, surgery may not be required to treat the injury. If not, you may need surgery to place the affected bones in their proper position and secure them with screws or plates.
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Changing Your Play Style
Look, you may not want to, but changing how you play the game will reduce some of the pain.
It may be painful to your ego, but your body will thank you for playing more of an old man style of basketball.
Thus, instead of playing explosively and relying on your athleticism, switch your game to a more skills-based one.
Learn to pace yourself and how to read your opponents.
Take more perimeter shots, pass more, and move without the ball more. Play a smarter, higher IQ game, like what LeBron James is doing in the latter years of his career.
Basically, just play more of a fundamental game and your body wont ache as much the following day.