Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)?

The knees serve as hinges, facilitating smooth forward and backward movement of the legs during activities like walking, kicking, and running. Positioned at the front of the knee, the kneecap (patella) plays several roles, including guiding the muscles responsible for knee straightening, safeguarding the knee joint, and absorbing forces during knee flexion. When the kneecap fails to move smoothly, the soft tissue between it and the knee can become inflamed, resulting in predictable pain known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) or runner’s knee.

Typically, discomfort manifests on the inner side of the kneecap when pressure is applied through activities like running, squatting, bending, stair usage, or jumping. Prolonged sitting or keeping the knees bent may also trigger pain.

What Causes PFPS?
Normally, the kneecap moves smoothly within a shallow groove at the knee’s front during bending and straightening motions. The quadriceps muscles at the thigh’s front contract to pull the kneecap, aiding knee straightening. Imbalances or weaknesses in these muscles, often due to various factors, can lead to the kneecap being pulled to one side, causing irritation over time.

Muscle imbalances or weakness can stem from multiple factors. Typically, the outer thigh muscles are stronger and tighter than the inner ones. Poor posture, hip misalignment, lack of arch support in the feet, or structural knee abnormalities can exacerbate this condition.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?
Accurate diagnosis of PFPS is crucial since knee pain’s inner side could result from injuries, dislocations, inflammation, arthritis, or other less common ailments. A physiotherapist can accurately diagnose PFPS and pinpoint its probable causes.

Based on the assessment, whether stemming from poor posture, inadequate arch support, or flawed running technique, a tailored treatment plan will be devised. Biomechanical analysis and correction of muscular imbalances often yield positive results. Proper footwear and orthotics can significantly aid in management. Short-term treatments like patella taping, dry needling, trigger point therapy, and ultrasound may offer quick symptom relief while addressing underlying issues.

In rare instances where physiotherapy proves ineffective, surgery becomes a last-resort option. For further details, consult your physiotherapist.

This newsletter’s content does not substitute proper medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional for personalized injury guidance.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *