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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is broad term used to describe pain experienced around the kneecap (patella) or the surrounding tissues.

Symptoms:

  • Dull ache experienced in the front of knee
  • Pain begins gradually and slowly intensifies
  • Pain during exercise that requires repetitive bending of the knee (running, jumping etc)
  • Can be experienced in both knees at the same time.
  • Pain after sustained sitting (movies, airplane, school etc)
  • Cracking/Popping sounds in your knee when climbing stairs or getting up from chair.

Possible Causes:

  1. Overuse:
    • Predominantly occurs with increased activity that puts repeated stress on the knee joint (e.g. jumping, running)
    • It can also start due to a sudden change in frequency and intensity of training or activity (e.g. increasing days or distance).
    • Usually this is due to a muscular strength and control dysfunction.
  2. Malalignment of Patella:
    • Your kneecap is ideally supposed to be placed within the centre of your knee, however sometimes the patella moves and tracks more to one side, causing malalignment.
    • Usually caused by muscular imbalances or weakness, causing the patella to shift.
    • It can also be due to alignment issues with the ankle and hips.
  3. Changes in activity surface or footwear.

Treatment Options:

  1. Specific Exercises – your physiotherapist will prescribe a suite of specific exercises, tailored according to the cause of the problem.
  2. Taping – if malalignment is an issue, your Physiotherapist may tape your knee to help facilitate it to track correctly and provide support.
  3. Dry Needling/Acupuncture – is a safe way to release tight muscles and decrease pain levels.
  4. Orthotics – can be prescribed if the issue is being caused by misalignment coming from the ankle.
  5. Activity Modification Advice – your Physiotherapist may change or alter your training program to allow time for adequate biomechanical changes.
  6. Heat/Ice – can be an effective in helping relieve pain and discomfort in the knee.