QUAD EXERCISES TO HELP COMBAT FIGHTERS/RUNNERS/JUMPERS KNEE PAIN – PATELLAR TENDINOPATHY
WARNING NOTE – I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I AM NOT A PHYSICAL THERAPIST. IF YOU ARE INJURED, GO SEE A PROFESSIONAL.
I shot this video 10 weeks out from my Muay Thai fight in Thailand and wanted to share it with you. I was feeling a little tweak in my knee (patellar tendinopathy) when I was skipping in my prior training session and knew right away, my quads (which I hadn’t worked in a while due to fight training) needed some love…and hence the workout.
I played professional indoor and beach volleyball for over 15 years.
What does that mean? It means a lot of jumping up and down, moving side to side, back and forth and the increase in the potential getting knee injuries.
I am sure over the span of this period; I probably jumped up and down over 100,000 times, between practices, matches and beach volleyball games.
One of the most common nagging injuries for me and other volleyball players alike was the patellar tendinopathy, better known as jumper’s knee. This injury has put many athletes on the shelf, but with a few tweaks, many athletes can avoid this.
So with years of research, testing on myself and visits to my Physiotherapist, I found a few ways to combat jumper’s knee throughout by strengthening and stretching my quads and legs.
In recent years, I have also found that this injury is starting to become more common with Combat Fighters (Muay Thai, BJJ, Kickboxers and MMA Athletes)
In this article I will give you a quick overview of what patella tendinopathy, some of the symptoms and ways I have found to help prevent and combat this nagging injury.
WHAT IS PATELLAR TENDINOPATHY?
Jumpers Knee or Patellar Tendinopathy occurs when the patella tendon, which joins the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone, comes under a large amount of stress due to individuals who actively put extra strain on the knee joint. This is seen in individuals that perform sports that involve direction changing and jumping movements.
With repeated strain, micro-tears as well as collagen degeneration may occur as a result in the tendon. Not to be confused with patella tendonitis (tendinitis) which is a condition that indicates an inflammation of the tendon, tendinopathy is more about degeneration of the tendon.
Specific Causes of Fighter’s Knee for the MMA Athlete
- Constant load of weight on your lead leg when striking
- When kicking your base leg needs to be stable and strong to help generate power form the kicking leg
- Movement from side to side
- Explosion down during take-downs or blasting up from the ground
Some of the symptoms that you may be experiencing if you have Patellar Tendinopathy are:
- Pain at the bottom and front of the kneecap especially when pressing in
- Aching and stiffness after exertion
- Pain when you contract the quadriceps muscles.
- The affected tendon may appear larger than the unaffected side.
For me, as soon as I felt that pain at the bottom of the knee, it was FUNK’s REHAB to the rescue.
I found when researching to write this article that there are 4 levels or grades to Patellar Tendinopathy
- Grade 1: Pain only after training
- Grade 2: Pain before and after training but pain eases once warmed-up
- Grade 3: Pain during training which limits your performance
- Grade 4: Pain during every day activities
If you have any of these symptoms, see you doctor first and then try my below suggestions
TREATMENT – How to Treat Patella Tendinopathy
- Quadriceps muscle strengthening program: in particular eccentric strengthening. These exercises involve working the muscles as they are lengthening and are thought to maximise tendinopathy recovery – see video and below Quad Workout
- Stretching the quads, hamstrings, calves
- Ice packs to reduce pain and inflammation after any form of exercise
- Wear a knee support, or jumper’s knee strap to reduce pain and ease the strain on the tendon.
- See a sports injury specialist who can apply sports massage techniques to the tendon and advise on a rehabilitation program.
- Muscle strengthening of other weight bearing muscle groups, such as the calf muscles, may decrease the loading on the patellar tendon.
- Massage therapy – transverse (cross) friction techniques may be used.
- Rest from training
My number #1 treatment is to try and strengthen the quad muscles and keep your legs strong and power full to ensure you take the pressure off your knees and on your quads when jumping, striking and/or running.
Implement the below workout into your weekly training schedule to ensure that your quads and legs are strong and powerful.
FUNK ROBERTS QUAD WORKOUT
- BARBELL SQUAT 5 SETS OF 10 REPS (GO HEAVY, GO DEEP, GO HARD)
- BODYWEIGHT BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS – 3 SETS OF 10 REPS
- LEG EXTENSIONS – 3 SETS 10-15 REPS (GO LIGHT)
- RIDE THE BIKE FOR 10 MINUTES
- STRETCH, STRETCH AND STRETCH