Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about project titled 'Relationship between symptoms of jumper`s knee and the ultrasound characteristics of the patellar tendon among high level male volleyball players'

Relationship between symptoms of jumper`s knee and the ultrasound characteristics of the patellar tendon among high level male volleyball players

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Project status: Published
Project manager: Roald Bahr, Øystein Lian
Supervisor(s): Roald Bahr
Coworker(s): Ketil Holen, Lars Engebretsen


Volleyball is a sport characterized by a high number of maximal jumps. Many players suffer from patellar or quadriceps tendon pain, described as the syndrome of jumper's knee by Blazina et al. Numerous histological and soft tissue imaging studies have shown tendon abnormalities in patients with jumper's knee, sometimes explained as the consequences of a non-healed, or insufficiently healed, partial patellar tendon tear, although the pathophysiology of this tendon disorder is unknown. Recent studies have shown that ultrasound is highly accurate in showing tendon tears later confirmed during surgery in athletes with disabling patellar tendon pain, but to our knowledge, only one study has compared the clinical diagnosis of jumper's knee with ultrasound findings in players with less serious symptoms.

The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the ultrasound characteristics of the patellar tendon in two groups of high-level volleyball players, one asymptomatic group, and one group with symptoms of jumper's knee.

Results: Of the 47 male elite players that were examined, 25 were diagnosed with current and 7 with previous symptoms of jumpers knee, as determined by clinical examination and interview. Since some players had bilateral problems, there were 34 knees with current problems and nine with previous problems. Seven of the 30 knees with a clinical diagnosis of jumpers knee in the patellar tendon had normal ultrasound findings, and ultrasound changes believed to be associated with jumpers knee (tendon thickening, echo signal changes, irregular paratenon appearance) were observed in 12 of 51 knees without symptoms.

Specific ultrasound findings such as paratenon changes, hypoechoic zones or pathological tendon thickening proximally did not correlate significantly with the degree or the duration of the symptoms. This study suggests that the specificity and sensitivity of ultrasonography is low in the evaluation of patients with jumpers knee.