Patellofemoral pain syndrome, sometimes called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee,” describes the pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap. It is common in those who participate in sports, particularly females and young adults, but it can occur in nonathletes as well. The stiffness and pain can make it difficult to perform everyday activities including kneeling and climbing stairs. Overuse and problems with the alignment of the kneecap are often significant factors in the development of patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be caused by abnormal tracking of the kneecap in the trochlear groove, in which the patella is pushed to one side of the groove when the knee is bent. This can cause increased pressure between the back of the patella and the trochlea, resulting in the irritation of soft tissues. Problems with the alignment of the legs between the hips and the ankles can contribute to poor tracking of the kneecap. Another contributing factor includes muscular imbalances or weaknesses, especially in the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh.
Dull, aching pain in the front of the knee is the most common symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome. The pain may be present in one or both knees. Other symptoms include:
Pain related to a change in activity level or intensity, playing surface, or equipment
Pain after sitting for a long period of time with your knees bent
Pain during exercise and activities that repeatedly bend the knee
Popping or crackling sounds in your knee when standing up after sitting for a long period of time or when climbing stairs
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Your physical therapist will determine what factors are affecting your knee with a physical examination. Your physical therapist will then determine the appropriate care including addressing foot posture abnormalities, addressing muscle imbalance, improving muscle flexibility, restoring strength, and normalizing movement patterns to reduce strain on the involved structures.
Peak Physical Therapy
Our South Shore Physical Therapy practice specializes in unique health and wellness programs including a new Pelvic Health Program for men, women, and pediatrics. Locations include Norwell, MA, Scituate, MA, Quincy, MA, and Hanover, MA. Our specialized programs combined with state-of-the-art facilities allow us to meet the unique needs of our local patients and achieve the fastest results. If you are unsure whether this type of treatment can help you, we offer a no-obligation FREE injury screening. Click here for more information.
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