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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is it?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), also known as runner’s knee, is a common condition that affects the knee joint. PFPS is a condition that causes pain around the front of the knee, specifically in the area where the kneecap (patella) meets the thigh bone (femur). PFPS is a common knee problem, especially in athletes, runners, and individuals who participate in activities that require repeated knee bending or impact.

The patella is a small bone that sits in front of the knee joint, and it is held in place by the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh. When these muscles contract, they pull on the patella, causing int to move up and down. The patella also moves back and forth in a groove on the femur bone (thigh bone).

How did I get this?

In people with patellofemoral pain syndrome, there is a problem with the way the patella moves in the groove. The exact cause of PFPS is not always clear, but it is believed to be related to an imbalance between the muscles that attach to the patella, leading to excessive stress on the joint. Contributing factors may include overuse, muscle weakness around the hips, muscle tightness, improper alignment of the kneecap, or injury to the joint. Symptoms of PFPS may include pain when climbing stairs, sitting for extended periods, squatting or during physical activity that puts stress on the knee joint. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is more commonly observed in females compared to males, with a prevalence of 7-28% and an incidence of 9.2% in adolescents.

How can Hybrid Physical Therapy help?

At our clinic we will provide a thorough assessment to determine the root cause of the knee pain. Sometimes the intervention may include rest or activity modification. Specific exercises will be designed to help everyone meet their goals. These exercises will help with strengthening of the muscles around the knee to help improve alignment and muscle imbalances. We will assess the entire chain, which includes looking at the hip and foot region. Sometimes, foot orthoses may be effective for short term pain relief in a subset of patients who have greater midfoot mobility, decreased ankle dorsiflexion range of motion or even an immediate reduction of pain with a single leg squat using orthoses. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a referral may be necessary for determine if injections are necessary.

Overall, PFPS is a common condition that we see that can be caused by several factors. With proper treatment and management, most people can recover fully and return to their normal activities without any long-term complications.

Let Hybrid Physical Therapy be the ones to guide you to the road to success and optimize your performance.


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