Patellofemoral Pain (or Kneecap Pain!)
July 22, 2021
What is it?
Patellofemoral pain is a chronic condition located at the front of the knee under and around the knee cap. However, the pain can be felt in any area of the knee, including the back of the knee. It is one of the most common types of knee pain in the United States accounting for 20-25% of all reported knee pain.
PFP can occur after sudden increases in physical activity, particularly running or jumping. The knee is unable to adapt as quickly as the new activity levels. PFP does not go away on its own!
Information and causes?
PFP can be caused from weakness in the thigh muscles, engaging in specific sports or activities that require repetitive movements, and hip/knee discoordination during running or jumping. PFP can also be caused from muscular imbalances that include a combination of weakness, decreased flexibility, and increased flexibility.
The signs and symptoms?
- When walking up or down stairs and inclines
- When playing sports
- With deep squats
- When walking on uneven surfaces
- Sitting with the knee bent
Pain typically improves with rest.
It is key that a person receive physical therapy for patellofemoral pain to properly restore strength and mobility. The Physical Therapist will initially focus educating the patient about the condition. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. Furthermore, your therapist will work to initially decrease pain and improve mobility and gradually improve strength and function for sport or occupation. The physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.
At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve core activation and stabilization.