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Jumper’s Knee Rehab: Don’t Overlook This Muscle

Are you facing persistent knee pain, especially below your knee, after activities like running, jumping, or playing basketball? If so, you may be dealing with Jumper’s Knee. In this blog, we’ll delve into a specific exercise that can play a pivotal role in your recovery journey. Join us as we explore the world of calf strengthening, focusing on the often underestimated soleus muscle.

Understanding Jumper's Knee

Jumper’s Knee, to summarize, is not merely a recent inflammatory issue, but rather involves gradual degradation of the patellar tendon. This is due to overactivity or sudden increases in physical demand over a span of several weeks with improper load management and tissue capacity. It’s essential to understand the root cause, and while rest is often recommended for a small period of time, specific exercises will be more beneficial to your management and prevention of Jumper’s Knee.

Significance of The Soleus Muscle:

     The soleus muscle, a deep calf muscle, plays a crucial role in managing loads during activities like running, landing from jumps and deceleration. As a result, the soleus is the first line of defense when it comes to your heel contacting the ground because it controls the tibia from going forward.

     Contrary to popular belief that the tibialis anterior is the primary decelerator of the tibia on impact. Therefore, strengthening the soleus muscle is key to limiting the amount of stress and force that is transmitted up the leg to the knee.

     If the foot and ankle joints and muscles cannot do their job effectively, the force and stress is placed heavily on the patellar tendon. As a result of this increased stress over time, you could develop Jumper’s Knee.

Bent Knee Heel Raise:

     To effectively target and strengthen the soleus muscle, we introduce the Bent Knee Calf Raise. Unlike the traditional calf raise with a straight knee, this exercise involves keeping the knee bent throughout the movement. The reason is that the soleus does not cross over the knee joint like its partner-in-crime, the gastrocnemius muscle, does. Therefore, bending the knee to bias the soleus muscle over the gastrocnemius muscle

Execution

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent
  • Push through your toes, with an emphasis through the 1st-3rd toes maintaining, to elevate your heels off the ground
  • Keeping the knee bent throughout the movement.
  • Focus on maintaining a straight line from your knee to your heel, avoiding any outward or inward movement.
  • Perform 15-30 reps per set, ensuring a controlled and deliberate motion.

Progressions

  1. Increase the Volume (More Sets or Reps or Both)
    Perform on 1 leg
  2. Add weight
  3. Increase the range of movement by performing off of a step, weighted plate, slant board or elevated surface

Incorporate Into Your Routine

     Recognizing the crucial role of the soleus muscle in the mechanics of basketball movements, incorporating the Bent Knee Calf Raise into your routine is essential. Whether you’re aiming to prevent Jumpers Knee or actively managing the condition, this exercise provides a targeted approach to strengthen the often-neglected soleus muscle.

Conclusion

     In conclusion, as you embark on your journey to overcome Jumper’s Knee and potentially prevent it from happening, don’t overlook the power of calf strengthening, particularly the soleus muscle. Prioritize consistency and witness the transformative impact on your recovery journey, as well as, your basketball performance.

     Furthermore, calf strengthening is just one component of Jumper’s Knee rehab that you should be in your program, and you need to address all of your other impairments. As a result,  if you require more assistance, work with your local rehab specialist to develop a proper plan of care and rehab program for yourself. Also, you could work with us and send us an email info@thebasketballdoctors.com , or check out our online Jumper’s Knee Rehab Program.

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The Basketball Doctors - Gabriel Ignacio Physical Therapist

Dr. Gabriel Ignacio PT, DPT, OCS, TPI

The Basketball Doctors - Marco Lopez Physical Therapist

Dr. Marco Lopez PT, DPT, CSCS

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The Basketball Doctors assume no responsibility or liability for any injury, loss, or damage incurred as a result of any use or reliance upon the information and material contained within or downloaded from its website. The Basketball Doctors are unable to provide any warranty concerning the accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein. The information provided in the videos are by no means complete or exhaustive, and, therefore, does not apply to all conditions, disorders, and health-related issues. The information is not intended to be physical therapy, medicaladvice, or treatment. Any reference to or mention of any particular diagnoses or dysfunctions is intended for informational purposes only and not an attempt to diagnose your particular problems.
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