Also known as patellofemoral joint syndrome, anterior knee pain and chondromalacia patellae – these rather long and complicated terms all just refer to knee pain felt at the front of the knee and around the kneecap.
As patellofemoral pain syndrome can lead to future development of patellofemoral osteoarthritis, it is important to not only treat but prevent this from occurring.
So, what causes patellofemoral pain syndrome?
Often referred to as “Runners knee”, this pain can be caused by a variety of factors including increased load through the knee both intrinsically (occurring within the body) and extrinsically (load or force acting externally on the body). Extrinsic factors such as running on hard surfaces, hill
or stair climbs, and high-volume training can all overload and exacerbate knee pain. Intrinsic factors such as inadequate flexibility, pronated feet, increased rotation of the femoral/tibia and increased knee valgus/collapse.
Physiotherapy and treatment for patellofemoral knee pain
Treatment for this knee pain is twofold – reduction of initial pain, and a treatment plan to target the trigger. Rest is recommended to reduce the pain, along with ice and if necessary, pain-relief medications.
During rehabilitation, it is important to assess extrinsic factors that may be contributing to the issue, such as shoes or the surface you are running on (uneven or hard surfaces). Along with this, we would be addressing the intrinsic issues that would contribute, which can be caused by a range of different factors such as:
- Patella (kneecap) position
- Soft tissue contributions
- Increased femoral rotation
- Muscle flexibility
- Pronation and more
During the treatment, you may expect we mobilise through the knee joint, and may use patella taping for certain issues. There are also braces available to help relieve joint stress and reduce patella displacement. Along with external bracing, it is important to include strength training exercises to improve function and reduce pain.
Images: "Best Walking Shoes for Knee Pain for Women"by gm.esthermax is licensed under CC BY 2.0. "File:Orthotics - Knee Brace (36209261475).jpg"by grace.jun719 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. "Running"by rorris is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0