Suffering from Painful knees- it could be Jumper’s Knee or a Runner’s Knee?

Millions of people experience painful athletic injuries every year. These injuries aren’t just the unexpected bumps and bruises; it can result in more severe outcomes that may affect the bone and joint health. One such common sports injuries that many experiences are Runner’s knee or Jumper’s knee. Though, both are non-medical terms that describe knee pain that looks are quite similar and are often used interchangeably, both mark a huge difference.

Jumper’s Knee (medically termed as Patellar Tendonitis), is the pain associated with tendon attached to the kneecap, also called patellar tendon, overuse or sudden stress on the patellar tendon can cause inflammation or tears in the tendon tissue.  Whereas the runner’s knee (medically termed as Patellofemoral pain syndrome), is the pain associated with the kneecap (Patella). Here are some specific differences between Jumper’s Knee and Runner’s Knee.


Jumper’s Knee

Runner’s Knee

  • Sharp and throbbing pain during athletic motion
  • Bruising or redness
  • Mild swelling
  • Discomfort during daily activities  such as, bending down, climbing stairs or kicking
  • Knee crepitus(grinding or crunching sensation within the knee)
  • A dull and achy pain in the front, behind, or around the kneecap.
  • “Water on the knee”-Swelling of the front of the knee may occur, signaling inflammation
  • Pain worsens when moving (pain, excess friction, or popping noises when moving)
  • Increased stiffness and exacerbated pain
  • Overuse of knees
  • High impact training, sports or exercising that involve direction changing and jumping movements
  • Repeated strain from high-intensity activities causing micro-tears and collagen degeneration in the patellar tendon
  • Overuse of knees
  • High impact training, biking  running, and exercises that cause bending in the knee
  • Repeated strain from running (and other activities) due to poor muscle strength causing inflammation and stress
  • Bracing or taping to support the tendon under the kneecap during exercise
  • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the patellar tendon
  • Injections to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery
  • Reduce or suspend sport activities that involves the patellar tendon until treatment is finished and condition is recovered
  • Use orthotics with arch support
  • Physical therapy are recommended to strengthen quad muscles. But, if the pain is severe injections are given to reduce inflammation and help combat pain
  • Bracing or taping to keep the kneecap in place during exercise
  • Reduce or suspend stressful athletic activities such as running, squatting, lunging, etc.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time and keep the muscles warmed up and moving
  • Apply ice compression on swelling and pain

The most terrible thing about sports and exercise activities is not doing it. True!! Injuries do happen — but don’t let the threat of cuts and scratches become an excuse for taking to your couch. Rather, take some simple preventive steps that will reduce the risk of exercise or sport-induced injuries such as PRICE(Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation).

Though you can manage many injuries yourself, do consult an Orthopedician if the pain persists for a longer time.