Mark Roe’s Physio Column: How to avoid jumpers’ knee and enjoy your basketball, pain free!

Mark Roe and Zinedine Zidane
Mark Roe and Zinedine Zidane
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Today’s column is for my friends at Sheffield Hatters who have asked me to write about knee injuries in basketball.

The main problem I see from this sport is a problem called “jumpers’ knee”, which is a phrase used to describe pain at the tendon of the front of the knee just below the kneecap. The tendon becomes inflamed due to over-use - particularly through lots of jumping - and becomes very painful.

In basketball, the knee is also subject to lots of other injuries, like ligament sprains, due to the forces caused when suddenly stopping, cutting, twisting and pivoting. So generally it’s a very vulnerable area for players.

For females, the stresses on the knee are worse than males due to the hips being wider. This makes a greater angle where the thigh bone meets the knee, which therefore placing more rotational forces making it susceptible to injury.

To prevent knee injuries, always warm-up properly! Having a good stretch of the thigh muscles, hamstrings and calf muscles to helps reduce load on the tendon when running and jumping. After training remember to cool down and have a good stretch again!

Eccentric strengthening exercises of the thigh muscles have been shown to be very helpful to reduce the pain and strengthen the knee. It is always advisable to have a strong core and buttock muscles too.

As always if you do have a knee injury it is always a good idea to seek the advice of your GP, or Chartered Physiotherapist, to see if return to sport is safe, or if you need a course of treatment.