Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) can also be known as Patellar Mal-Tracking Syndrome, is caused by activities that increase the load in the joint between the kneecap and the femur. These activities include:
Squatting (gym in particular)
Standing up after prolonged sitting, and even during sitting
Walking up and down stairs, or stair running
Pain is generally felt at the front of the knee, around or underneath the kneecap. It can be a very vague type of pain. PFPS may also be associated with a grinding or clicking feeling underneath the kneecap. Like all other joints, the patellofemoral joint is also subject to developing degenerative changes and osteoarthritis, and this also may be a cause of pain.
Your local sports physiotherapist with an interest in knee injuries, will provide a thorough knee examination to determine the exact cause of any symptoms and to rule out any structural (ligament, cartilage) problems. They will also assess lower limb biomechanics to determine if any poor movement patterns may be contributing to the issue, for example the knee dropping inwards during a squat or increased rolling in of the foot. From the initial physiotherapy assessment, a management plan can be put in place to address and the cause of PFPS and, ultimately, lead to a full resolution of symptoms.
Treatment for PFPS involves several modalities. These include:
Soft tissue release of tight structures around the knee
Taping of the patellofemoral joint to either offload the joint or keep it in an optimal position
Exercise prescription addressing any weaknesses that may be contributing to the pain
Modification of running and/or jumping/landing mechanics to correct any overloading of the patellofemoral joint
Referral to a podiatrist for an opinion regarding orthotic prescription
Research shows that PFPS can be very well managed by a physiotherapist and a full return to normal activity can be achieved with the right treatment plan. Particular strengthening exercises for the knee AND hip have been shown to be most effective for long term outcomes.
If you are suffering from Patellofemoral Joint Pain, or have been diagnosed with Patella Mal- Tracking, book in and consult with one of the physiotherapists at Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy Essendon, North Melbourne or Blackburn South to discuss your diagnosis and develop a suitable management plan.
To make a booking to see your local Melbourne physiotherapist for treatment of your Patellofemoral Joint Syndrome, please call your local clinic or book online.