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Braces and tape effective for jumper’s knee

17 October 2014

Wearing a patella brace or sport tape helps to relieve the pain experienced by sportsmen and women suffering from jumper’s knee. This is particularly true when the knee comes under heavy strain, as is the case with the high jump or squatting. These are the results of research carried out by sports physicians and movement scientists from the Centre for Sports Medicine of the UMCG. They are the first worldwide results showing that these aids have a definite effect on jumper’s knee.

Jumper’s knee is a chronic inflammation of the patella, caused by strain. It is common among people who participate in sports that involve jumping, such as volleyball, handball and basketball, hence the name. Some ten percent of sportsmen and women who play basketball, volleyball and handball suffer from this injury, and more than thirty percent of those who compete at the top level.

For the purposes of this study, sportsmen and women with jumper’s knee performed three functional tests, whereby they were asked to indicate the level of pain they were experiencing. During the tests, they switched between wearing a patella brace, sport tape, placebo tape and no aids at all. They then spent a week taking part in their normal sporting activities wearing an aid, such as a patella brace or sport tape, so that the research could also draw conclusions about the effects of the aids when actually participating in sport. Both parts of the study showed that wearing a patella brace or sport tape relieved the pain.

The researchers from the Centre for Sports Medicine of the UMCG also compared the two aids. The patella brace appeared to be slightly more effective than the sport tape, but this might be because the brace is easier to apply than the tape. The study showed large individual differences between the participants.

The Centre for Sports Medicine of the UMCG has spent many years researching strain injuries and will now continue studying these particular aids. Another study will examine the effect on the tendon structure and probably also the long-term effects of wearing the aids. It will be several years before the results of these studies are published.

Almost one hundred sportsmen and women with painful knees took part in the research into jumper’s knee. The measurements were recorded in Groningen, Zwolle, Utrecht and Arnhem. The research findings were today presented to the NeVoBo (Netherlands Volleyball Association) and the Netherlands Basketball Association.

This research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW).

Last modified:29 October 2014 09.05 a.m.
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