Ultrasound or phonophoresis (ultrasound delivered medication) may decrease pain symptoms. A special brace with a cutout for the kneecap and lateral stabilizer or taping may improve patellar tracking and provide stability. Sometimes arch supports or orthotics are used to improve foot and leg stability, which can reduce symptoms and help prevent future injury.
The treatment of jumper's knee is often specific to the degree of involvement.
Stage I, which is characterized by pain only after activity and no undue functional impairment, is often treated with cryotherapy. The patient should use ice packs or ice massage after terminating the activity that exacerbates the pain and later again that evening. If aching persists, a course of regularly prescribed anti-inflammatory medications should be administered for 10 to14 days.
In stage II, the patient has pain both during and after activity but is still able to participate in the sport satisfactorily. The pain may interfere with sleep. At this point, activities that cause increased loading of the patellar tendon (for example, running or jumping) should be avoided.
A comprehensive physical therapy program, as discussed above, should be implemented. For pain relief, the knee should be protected by avoiding high loads to the patellar tendon, and cryotherapy should continue. The athlete should be instructed in alternative conditioning to avoid injury to the affected area.
Once the pain improves, therapy should focus on knee, ankle, and hip joint range of motion, flexibility, and strengthening.
If the pain becomes increasingly intense and if the athlete becomes more concerned about his or her performance, a local corticosteroid injection may be considered. The doctor will explain the pros and cons of these injections.
In stage III, the patient's pain is sustained, and performance and sport participation are adversely affected. Though discomfort increases, therapeutic measures similar to those described above should be continued along with not participating in activities that may worsen or prevent recovery from the injury. Relative rest for an extended period (for instance 3 to 6 weeks) may be necessary in stage III. Often, the athlete will be encouraged to continue an alternative cardiovascular and strength-training program.
If the condition does not improve with treatment, surgery may be considered. Some athletes will not be able to continue to participate in activities that worsen or prevent recovery from the problem.