Knee pain | Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is an umbrella term used for pain arising from the patellofemoral joint itself, or surrounding soft tissues.
PFPS tends to get worst with activities such as climbing stairs ascending a ladder, squatting, running, jumping and in more severe cases walking. General PFPS presents in the front aspects of the knee. Commonly it has also been called “moviegoers’ knees”, as the pain is often felt on standing from prolonged sitting. Generally, PFPS is a chronic condition and can take 2-3 months to manage.
PFPS is often confused with chondromalacia patellae and patellar tendinopathy. These conditions may present with similar symptoms. However, the pathophysiology is thought to be different and therefore there is alternative treatments. Although good for one condition alternative treatments may lead to a flare-ups for the other. Speak to a qualified physiotherapist for further information.
PFPS can be due to overuse and overload of the patellofemoral joint commonly caused by rapid increases in activity like squatting or jogging and even climbing stairs. Furthermore, causes may include anatomical or biomechanical abnormalities, muscular weakness, imbalance or dysfunction. Being that the cause is multifactorial, PFPS is difficult to treat and is more likely to worsen and be resistive to treatment if not done correctly.
The treatment plan would look into monitoring your overall load or volume each day. Additionally, creating a graded strengthening program prioritising quadricep strengthening, Vastus medialis obliquus motor control, hip strengthening and lower limb balance and stability. This will allow for better lower limb control and alignment during activity and a gradual increase resilience to load without overloading and causing a flare-up. The combination of this with strategies like assessing footwear, pain management and biomechanical analysis can be utilised to optimise HOW you are loading the through the knee joint.
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