Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome – What is it, Who does it effect?
01/05/2020 by Pivotal Motion
Patella femoral pain syndrome, or more commonly known as “runners knee” is a very serious condition that can occur in many people, regardless of physical activity level. It is common in young adults, females and those who participate in a lot of sports. Issues with knee cap alignment and general overuse of the knee are contributing factors as well.
What is patellofemoral pain syndrome? Your knee is one of the largest and most complicated joints of the body. It is made up of the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone) and patella (knee cap). Four ligaments keep the knee attached to the bone and are a strong supporting structure. The quadricep muscles are also connected to kneecap and shin through tendons. These structures allow you to move, jump and exercise with ease. Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs when nerves sense pain in the tissues surrounding the bone and kneecap. This pain is a result of the kneecap gliding outside of the bone groove, so it rubs against the thigh bone painfully.
Symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome include functional activities such as stairs, squats, kneeling, hopping or running where the knee becomes painful. This is usually a gradual condition which happens overtime. Activities with running, jumping, landing or squatting positions are prime causes of these aching knee caps. Sitting in a chair for a considerable part of the day creates a sustained knee bend, which can also correlate to this syndrome.
How we can we help with Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome?
As your knee is integral to sporting and daily activities, our Pivotal Motion physiotherapists are here to assist you with your rehabilitation journey. Proprioception is defined as your awareness of the position and movement of body parts. Studies show that this can often be impacted with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Balance activities such as a single leg stance or the single leg squat can help to restore your proprioceptive functionality. Your joint movement response is detected by the nervous system and will report back to your brain. Repetitive balance exercises can fine tune this response to perfect your proprioception.
Using a foam roller is also a great way to rehabilitate the knee as weak or tight muscles can lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome. We stock the foam rollers here in the Pivotal Motion clinic. Using your body weight to roll the foam roller across your leg muscles can assist with moving the knee cap to its original track and reduce pain. This should be done for about 60 seconds on each tight muscle until the muscle relaxes. It also helps to improve your flexibility by unlocking your hips and releasing muscle tightness.