Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is a common cause of knee pain in both adolescents and adults.  It is especially prevalent in runners and is sometimes called “Runner’s knee”. PFPS is typically characterized by pain at the front of the knee.

Anatomy:
b.pfsmlThe patellofemoral joint is comprised of the patella (knee cap) and the femur (thigh bone). The patella sits in a groove on the femur. When the knee bends, the patella moves along this groove. This is referred to as “patellar tracking”. A combination of dynamic (quadricep muscles and ITB)  and static (articular capsule, medial and lateral retinacula, bony structure and ligaments) stabilizers control patellar tracking.

 

Symptoms:

  • Pain around or under the patella
  • Aggravated by activities such as squatting, going down stairs, kneeling, lunging, running and prolonged periods of sitting
  • Knee may feel stiff
  • May notice clicking or grinding with knee movement
  • Minimal swelling

Causes:
There are 3 primary contributing factors that increase the risk of PFPS.

1) Muscular imbalance

  • Quadricep muscle weakness can impair patellar tracking. When the inner quadricep muscle is weak and the outer quadricep muscles and ITB are tight, the patella is pulled towards the outside, impairing its tracking. Tight hamstrings and calves can also contribute to PFPS. Furthermore, weak gluteus muscles decreases pelvic stability and increase the force placed on the knee which increases risk of PFPS.

2) Malalignment

  • Large Q-angle (wide hips), knock knees and asymmetrical kneecaps can contribute to PFPS. Additionally, over pronation (excessive rolling-in) of the feet can cause the lower leg to rotate inwards, increasing stress on the knee joint.

3) Overactivity

  • Increasing your running/training mileage, speed, intensity and hill work  too quickly without enough rest are common training errors that can cause PFPS.

Treatment:

Physiotherapy can effectively treat PFPS. The first step of treatment is identifying the cause of the problem. A treatment plan will then be created to deal with the cause and prevent injury recurrence. Initially, resting and icing the knee will be important to decrease pain and inflammation. A variety of soft tissue techniques, andjoint mobilization, as well stretching and strengthening exercises will be used to further rehabilitate the knee and surrounding structures. If necessary taping techniques, knee bracing and foot orthotics may recommended to deal with malalignment issues. It is important to note that addressing this issue early will promote faster recovery.

For more information about Kinetic Physiotherapy, visit our website:http://www.kineticphysiotherapy.ca  Contact Kinetic Physiotherapy via e-mail:info@kineticphysiotherapy.ca or phone: 905-637-1414 to set up an appointment.

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9 thoughts on “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

  1. Really great article on patellofemoral pain syndrome. Seems to be a very common injury that is often untreated or misdiagnosed. Thank you for sharing and have a great day!

  2. Very Informative article. Its good to know kinetic physiotherapy are such great teachers at accurately explaining the common things that occur and cast out any myths.

  3. Great incite into an all to common mis-diagnosis by the medical community. thanks for posting

  4. Great article on a very common injury.

  5. Very common condition I see in my practice as well. Thank you for the visual explanation. Great article!

  6. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is very common. It’s important to find out the cause of it and address it accordingly. Often exercises play a huge role in recovery. Thanks for the information.

  7. such a common injury I see untreated! great article, thanks for sharing

  8. Reading your blog posts always reinforces what I already know about Kinetic Physiotherapy – you’re not only therapists – but you’re educators! And THAT is very important to me. Often times people have no idea the it is health care professionals are treating – you go the extra mile in always explaining the signs, symptoms and therapies for each condition. Thanks for the post!

  9. Thanks for the great article, i really liked it

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