Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
If you are experiencing pain in the front of your knee that makes it difficult to climb the stairs, squat, or sit for long periods, Patellofemoral pain syndrome might just be the culprit. If left untreated, PFPS can lead to a loss in the thigh muscle and hinder your normal activities. It is vital to contact a therapist as soon as you begin to notice these symptoms. This ensures that treatment begins immediately and that your knee pain is relieved in the shortest time.
What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome or just patellofemoral syndrome is a term used to describe pain in the front of the knee, and around the kneecap (patella). PFPS is also known as jumper’s syndrome or runner’s syndrome because it is common in athletes that engage in sports such as running, basketball, and other vigorous activities. Although it’s more common in athletes, it can happen to anyone.
Causes and Risk Factors for Patellofemoral Syndrome
Patellofemoral syndrome is caused when the back of the kneecap rubs against the thighbone. Why this happens is not known completely, but factors that can trigger this include:
Overuse of the knee: repetitive movements with the knee can strain the knee joint, which in turn affects the patella
Muscle imbalance: weak muscles around the knee and kneecap can cause misalignment leading to injury
Fall or direct hit to the knee which affects the knee cap
Improper sports equipment or training techniques.
Risk factors for patellofemoral syndrome include:
Vigorous activities: persons involved in high-impact activities which include running, jumping, squatting, are more prone to runner’s knee
Age: Adolescents and young adults are likely to have the syndrome
Sex: women are more prone to patellofemoral syndrome than men. This is largely due to muscle imbalance and wider pelvis than men.
Flat feet: individuals with flat feet place more pressure on their knee joints than those who do not. This could contribute to the patellofemoral syndrome.
Patellofemoral Syndrome Symptoms
The most common pain individuals will experience is a pain in the form of a dull ache in front of the knee. The pain increases with activity and might be in one or both knees. Other symptoms you may likely experience includes:
Diagnosing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
At Polygon PT, a physical therapist will examine your knee and thigh thoroughly. Through physical tests, a diagnosis for PFPS will be made. Imaging tests are not useful for diagnosing PFPS, however, your therapist may require you to carry it out with your doctor just to rule out other options.
Treatment for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Although the pain associated with PFPS is not sharp or intense, it doesn’t go away on its own. Your PT will develop an exercise program just for you. This may likely include:
It is mindful to note that using just the RICE method, shoe inserts, or taping will only provide temporary relief. These must be combined with a structured exercise program that targets the knee.
Preventing Patellofemoral Syndrome
PFPS can be prevented by doing the following:
Get Started With Physical Therapy for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Today
If you have been experiencing the above symptoms of PFPS, and home treatments have not been providing relief, it’s time to see a physical therapist. Request an appointment with one of our therapists right away to relieve your pain, and get back to your normal activities.