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Performance characteristics of volleyball players with patellar tendinopathy.

BACKGROUND: Patellar tendinopathy is assumed to result from chronic tendon overload. There may be a relationship between tendon pain and jumping ability.

HYPOTHESIS: There is no difference in performance characteristics between volleyball players with patellar tendinopathy and those without.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

METHOD: We examined the performance of the leg extensor apparatus in high-level male volleyball players with patellar tendinopathy (N = 24) compared with a control group (N = 23) without knee symptoms. The testing program consisted of different jump tests with and without added load, and a composite jump score was calculated to reflect overall performance.

RESULTS: The groups were similar in age, height, and playing experience, but the patellar tendinopathy group did more specific strength training and had greater body weight. They scored significantly higher than the control group on the composite jump score (50.3 versus 39.2), and significant differences were also observed for work done in the drop-jump and average force and power in the standing jumps with half- and full-body weight loads.

CONCLUSIONS: Greater body weight, more weight training, and better jumping performance may increase susceptibility to patellar tendinopathy in volleyball players.

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