As with many high impact sports, the knee joint is one of the most frequent sites of injury in volleyball players.
Around 40% of high-level players in the sport suffer from overuse injuries during play, and while resting.
This painful syndrome is generally due to the amount of jumping that is intertwined in volleyball play and its training, which aims at strengthening the quadriceps muscle.
There are two main points of concern within the knee joint in volleyball players.
The exterior apparatus is subject to continuous periods of high-stress activity, while the bone tendon junction is also likely to end up with a lesion, as it is the weakest point in the joint.
This causes the syndrome commonly referred to as ‘jumper’s knee‘.
To avoid this you must cooperate with both your trainer and doctors in order to ensure that you are not stressing the joint and making it vulnerable to injury.
In this article, we will investigate;
- If volleyball is bad for your knees
- What is the best treatment for a jumper’s knee?
- Can jumper’s knee ever fully heal?
- The recovery period for knee tendonitis
Frequently Asked Questions
Is volleyball bad for your knees?
Volleyball is not a contact sport between players.
It has been found that high contact sports, such as football and soccer, have the highest risk of knee injuries in the sporting arena.
However, traumatic joint injuries are very frequent in volleyball players and can become very serious if not tended to quickly.
This puts it right into the category of high-risk sports.
It exposes the knee to some dangerous movements, such as twisting, but does sometimes involve contact between players.
This can also put your knee at risk of injury.
Repetitive jumping, and loss of balance, can cause lesion because of the ‘one-footed’ landing.
Although it is hard to prevent the instability of the knee joint while playing volleyball, when you realize that you have an injury it is best to stop playing until it has been examined by a doctor.
Repeated knee joint injuries in sports such as volleyball can lead to more serious conditions in later life, such as post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
How do you treat a jumper’s knee?
Your personal treatment plan will depend on how severe your injury is.
To reduce the pain you can begin by resting your leg, stretch and strengthen the muscles in the legs, and seek advice from your doctor.
The period of controlled rest is the first point of call for doctors and during this time you should avoid activity that stresses the knee joint and puts pressure on it.
Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for short-term pain and inflammation reduction.
This may include ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
If the pain persists you may need a corticosteroid injection from your doctor around the patellar tendon.
This is an effective method and significantly reduces pain and swelling.
But this may also weaken the joint and tendon, lengthening your recovery time.
This pain medication can also be delivered by spreading the drug over your knee and using the low electrical charge to push it through your skin, this is called ionophoresis.
Physical therapy aims to reduce the pain and swelling in your knee, while also stretching and strengthening the muscles that surround it in the leg and thigh.
Depending on the severity of your pain while you are resting, the doctor may advise a brace or use of crutches to avoid further damage to your tendons.
When you are significantly pain-free you can start on physical therapy.
A physical therapy session can include; warm-up period, ice, or massage for your knee, stretching and strengthening.
Your therapist may also wish to ultrasound your knee and use electrical stimulation to ease the pain.
A knee brace or taping helps to reduce pain while you are exercising as it keeps the kneecap in place.
Does the jumper’s knee go away?
Treatment for a jumper’s knee can for the most part take a long time.
Rest in the beginning is essential to avoid any further damage, but rest alone will not cure this condition by any means.
The pain after rest will minimize, but the underlying condition is still present.
Resting for too long can decrease the tendon’s tolerance and ultimately make it weaker.
Rest is advised if you experience pain days after training or if it comes on abruptly after you first increase your training.
You should remain active, under the advice of your doctor and physical therapist.
Cycling, water running, and swimming are great low-impact activities you could try to increase the strength in the knee.
Jumper’s knee does not heal overnight. It comes from overuse and patience is of the utmost importance during recovery.
Significant improvements can be seen in the first 6-8 weeks.
After 3 months if the program is not working then you should consider changing treatment plans.
This may include injections or surgery.
Both of these procedures are of course the last resort as it can have a great effect on your recovery time.
How long does it take to recover from knee tendonitis?
This differs on a case by case basis. It depends largely on the severity of the injury.
It is common in runners and athletes alike, but there is no set rehabilitation process that is proven to work.
This is still being debated among medical professionals.
Therapy may enable you to return to sports, but if your condition is chronic this may not be an option.
The recovery time can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 8 months in total.
Sometimes rehabilitation may even take longer before you can return to your daily activities.
The most important factors in your recovery are;
- sticking to your rehabilitation program and regularly exercising
- resuming your sports activity gradually
- paying attention to pain, and resting as necessary
- using OTC remedies and ice to help with returning pain