Patellofemoral pain is a common complaint for runners, cyclists, gym goers and people doing running based sports such as football or netball. The pain is usually felt in the front of the knee, up and around the knee cap as pictured. The pain will get worse with more activity, particularly when a large amount of knee range of movement is required, and is often worse after.
The knee joint is made up of 3 articulating surfaces: the thigh bone (femur) resting on top of the shin bone (tibia) and the kneecap (patella) sitting in the groove of the thigh bone. As we bend and straighten out knee, the kneecap moves up and down this groove within the tendon attaching the thigh muscle (quadriceps) to the shin bone. The articulating surfaces between the kneecap and thigh bone can become irritated and cause pain in the front of the knee and this is called Patellofemoral Joint Pain Syndrome.
What cause Patellofemoral pain syndrome?
The acute pain caused by irritation and inflammation can initially be settled down with relative rest, ice, anti-inflammatories and taping. However it is important to identify the underlying cause of the irritation so that it may be addressed. Otherwise the irritation will continue to arise with load.
Common contributing factors include:
Weakness or underutilization in some muscles, particularly glutes/hip stabilisers
Poor movement patterns or running technique, particularly excessive heel striking or over striding
Training errors and poor load management
Tightness in some muscles, particularly the ITB/TFL or adductors
How to treat Patellofemoral pain syndrome and when to see a Physiotherapist?
If you have been experiencing knee pain as described above for >1 week, you should seek treatment. Your physiotherapist will assist you to reduce the acute pain as well as identifying the relevant contributing factors to your pain and address them with strengthening exercises, running drills/technique prompts, functional exercises and a load management plan. At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy we will have you back doing your sport or hobby as soon as possible.
If you have sustained an injury from playing tennis or are just keen on a targeted, individualised injury prevention program book in with one of our Physiotherapists today!
Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy
Melbourne Sports Physio has a range of qualified and experienced professionals who can help provide ongoing support and treatment. Our friendly team are located in across Melbourne in Essendon, North Melbourne and Blackburn South, and appointments can be made by calling or booking online.