Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Knee

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) also known as Runner’s Knee, is a condition caused by irritation to the patella and surrounding structures in the knee joint. The patella is the kneecap and is located on the front of the femur, or thighbone.

It occurs when the cartilage under the kneecap wears down, causing inflammation and pain in the front of your knee.

What are the types of Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) may be acute, subacute, or chronic.

  • Acute PFPS can last from a few days to several weeks and is usually caused by an injury.
  • Subacute PFPS lasts for more than one month but less than six months and may be caused by overuse of the knee joint.
  • Chronic PFPS lasts longer than six months without improvement, although it can improve with treatment.

What are the causes of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

The most common cause is patellar maltracking, or when the patella does not sit perfectly in its groove. This can happen due to physical changes in your body, like gaining weight or having an injury that causes pain or inflammation. Other causes include:

  • Tightening of the IT band (tensor fasciae latae muscle)
  • Weakness in hip abductors
  • Improper running form (overstriding)

What are the symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

The most common symptoms of  Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) include:

  • Knee pain around or above the kneecap that worsens with activity and improves with rest
  • Kneecap feels unstable, clicks or locks into place when walking
  • Swelling or tenderness around the kneecap or along the line where patella meets thighbone
  • Feeling like you need to stretch out your legs after sitting for long periods of time

What are the risk factors of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

The main risk factors for  Patellofemoral pain syndrome are:

  • Excessive exercise or sports
  • Muscle weakness in your thigh muscles
  • Having weak hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your upper legs)
  • Tight muscles in the hip and front of the thigh
  • Weakness in the thigh muscles
  • Imbalance in muscle strength between the quadriceps and hamstrings
  • Tightness in the front of the hip joint (called anterior pelvic tilt)
  • Overuse during exercise or sports activities.

Recommended Exercise

Knee

What are the treatments for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

The most common treatments for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) are:

Rest, Ice and Elevation

The doctor may recommend that you rest the knee for a few days, apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15 minutes at a time, and elevate the leg when possible.

Physical Therapy

This may include exercises to stretch the muscles around your kneecap, strengthening exercises to build up your thigh muscles and improve how they work with your kneecap, and other physical therapy techniques.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

These medications include ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). They are not recommended for people who have asthma or high blood pressure, because they can cause serious side effects in these groups of people.

What are the exercises for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

The exercises for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome are often the same as those for other knee pain.

The exercises for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome are:

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand with your back against a wall, knees slightly bent and a towel or resistance band looped around your foot. Slowly flex and extend your knee, keeping your heel on the ground. Do this 10 times, and then switch legs.

Quadriceps Stretch

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees. Hold onto the back of the chair, lean forward and let your knees drop open so that they’re at least 2 inches apart. Hold this position for 30 seconds, relax and repeat three more times.

Side-Lying Leg Lift

Lie on your side with your bottom arm underneath you for support and place your top hand on top of your thigh near your hip bone. Lift up that leg until it’s parallel to the ground (make sure not to lift too high!). Hold this position for 10 seconds before lowering it again slowly back down towards the ground—repeat 10 times per leg!

Explanation of Recommended Orthotic Device

Knee

What brace is used for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse injury that causes pain and tenderness around your kneecap.

A lightweight knee brace can help relieve your symptoms by stabilizing your kneecap and providing compression to the area surrounding it.

The open patella knee sleeve, on the other hand, provides no support but instead helps relieve pressure on your knees by providing a soft cushion between them.

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