Prevalence of Jumper's knee among nonelite athletes from different sports: a cross-sectional survey

Am J Sports Med. 2011 Sep;39(9):1984-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546511413370. Epub 2011 Jul 7.


Background: The prevalence of jumper's knee among nonelite athletes from different sports is unknown.

Purpose: This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of jumper's knee in nonelite athletes from different sports and to determine potential risk factors for jumper's knee.

Design: Cohort study (prevalence); Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: The authors interviewed 891 male and female nonelite athletes from 7 popular sports in The Netherlands: basketball, volleyball, handball, korfball, soccer, field hockey, and track and field. Using a specially developed questionnaire, information was obtained about individual characteristics (age, height, and weight), training background, previous and actual knee problems, and the VISA-P (Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment-Patella) score.

Results: The overall prevalence of current jumper's knee was 8.5% (78 of 891 athletes), showing a significant difference between sports with different loading characteristics. Prevalence was highest among volleyball players (14.4%) and lowest among soccer players (2.5%); it was significantly higher among male athletes (51 of 502 [10.2%]) than female athletes (25 of 389 [6.4%]) (χ(2) = 3.91, P = .048). The mean duration of symptoms was 18.9 months (standard deviation [SD], 21.6; median value, 12.0; range, 2.0-59.8). The mean VISA-P score of the athletes with jumper's knee was 71.4 (SD, 13.8). Athletes with jumper's knee were significantly younger, taller, and heavier than those without jumper's knee.

Conclusion: Prevalence of jumper's knee is high among nonelite athletes and varies between 14.4% and 2.5% for different sports. Jumper's knee is almost twice as common among male nonelite athletes compared with female athletes. Different sport-specific loading characteristics of the knee extensor apparatus, a younger age, a taller body stature, and higher body weight seem to be risk factors associated with patellar tendinopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Patella / injuries
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Tendinopathy / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult