Knee Pain

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain is the term used to describe mechanical pain in and around the patella or knee cap. Often caused by weakness of the hip abductors (muscles just above the hip bone) and quadriceps muscles. It may present with new or unaccustomed exercise.

What are the symptoms?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome presents around the knee cap which usually increases slowly over time.  Symptoms are often worse after running or activity.   If you are less active, a sudden increase in activity levels such as stair climbing may bring on the pain. You may also notice a stiff, tight feeling along your lateral thigh or a grinding sound within the knee joint.

What causes it?

The quadricep muscles may be weak which causes a lack of support around the knee cap. If the muscle group lacks strength, it doesn’t hold the knee cap in a nice, stable position during knee movements. This occurs more often in females due to wider hips or larger Q angle. Your biomechanics may predispose you to this condition

Self Treatment

Following the acronym R.I.C.E.R, it is important to avoid painful activity and safely ice the knee for about 20 mins when sore.

Prognosis and Treatment

Your Physiotherapist will be able to assess your knee with orthopaedic tests and diagnose if this is the cause of your pain.  As Physiotherapists, we use manual therapy soft tissue techniques and will review your running technique to help alleviate your pain.  You must unload the knee enough to reduce pain and inflammation. This may be facilitated with specialised taping for this condition.

Your therapist is qualified to tailor your training and individualise your exercise program to provide you with the best rehabilitation program.

Evidence suggests hip abductor strengthening is very effective for managing patellofemoral knee pain.

As your quadriceps and hip abductor strength increases, you can gradually return to higher-level activities such as playing sport.

Your physiotherapist will prescribe some exercises to suit you and your specific condition to perform regularly at home. It is important you complete these exercises regularly to improve your condition and reduce pain as quickly as possible.

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