Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers specificly to pain
PFPS is one of the most common types of knee pain experienced in the United States, particularly among
Patellofemoral pain affects more women than men and accounts for 20% to 25% of all reported knee pain.
Our senior physiotherapists design exercise and treatment programs for people experiencing PFPS to help them
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers to pain at the front of the knee, in and around the kneecap. (The kneecap, or patella, is the triangle-shaped bone at the front of the knee joint.)
Patellar and knee pain happens when friction is created between the undersurface of the kneecap and the thigh bone (femur). The pain also is usually accompanied by tenderness along the edges of the kneecap.
Current research indicates that PFPS is an "overuse syndrome," which means that it may result from repetitive or excessive use of the knee.
Other contributing factors may include:
These conditions can interfere with the ability of the kneecap to glide smoothly on the femur (the bone that connects the knee to the thigh) in the femoral groove (situated along the thigh bone) during movement.
The friction between the undersurface of the kneecap and the femur causes the pain and irritation commonly seen in PFPS. The kneecap also may fail to track properly in the femoral groove when the quadriceps muscle on the inside front of the thigh is weak, and the hip muscles on the outside of the thigh are tight.
The kneecap gets pulled in the direction of the tight hip muscles and can track or tilt to the side, which irritates the tissues around the kneecap.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) often occurs in people who are
Older adults may experience age-related changes that cause the cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap to wear out, resulting in pain and difficulty completing daily tasks without pain.
People with PFPS may experience:
Our senior physiotherapists will
We may observe the alignment of your feet, analyze your walking and running patterns, and test the strength of your hip and thigh muscles to find out whether there is a weakness or imbalance that might be contributing to your pain.
We also will check the flexibility of the muscles in your leg, paying close attention to those that attach at the knee.
Generally, X-rays are not needed to diagnose PFPS though we may consult with an orthopedic physician who may order an X-ray to rule out other conditions.
After a comprehensive evaluation, we will analyze the findings and, if PFPS is present, we will prescribe an exercise and rehabilitation program just for you.
Your patellar physiotherapy program may include:
We will teach you exercises targeted at the hip (specifically, the muscles of the buttock and thigh), the knee (specifically, the quadriceps muscle located on the front of your thigh that straightens your knee), and the ankle.
Strengthening these muscles will help relieve pressure on the knee, as you perform your daily activities.
We also will choose exercises to gently stretch the muscles of the hip, knee, and ankle. Increasing the flexibility of these muscles will help reduce any abnormal forces on the knee and kneecap.
Based on your activity level, we may teach you proper form and positioning when performing activities, such as
to minimize excessive forces on the kneecap. This type of training is particularly effective for athletes.
PFPS is often caused by overuse and repetitive activities. Athletes and active individuals can benefit from our senior physiotherapists guidance about proper cross-training techniques to minimize stress on the knees.
Taping or bracing
We may choose to tape the kneecap to reduce your pain and retrain your muscles to work efficiently. There are many forms of knee taping, including some types of tape that help align the kneecap and some that just provide mild support to irritated tissues around it.
In some cases, a brace may be required to hold the knee in the best position to ensure proper healing.
We may prescribe treatments with gentle electrical stimulation to reduce pain and support the healing process.
If you are having difficulty performing specific daily activities, or are an athlete who wants to return to a specific sport, we will design individualized exercises to rebuild your strength and performance levels.
An effective rehabilitation program reduces the chances of re-injury and of other knee-related problems such as patellofemoral pain syndrome and osteoarthritis.
Typically patella dislocations are initially immobilized for the first 2–3 weeks to allow the stretched structures to heal.
Rehabilitation focuses on maintaining strength and range of motion to reduce pain and maintain the health of the muscles and tissues around the knee joint.
The objective to any good rehabilitation program is to
A common physiotherapy plan is to strengthen the
Commonly used exercises include isometric quadricep sets, side lying clamshells, leg dips with internal tibial rotation, etc.
The idea is that because the medial side is most often stretched by the more common lateral dislocation, medial strengthening will add more stabilizing support.
With progression more intense range of motion exercises are incorporated.
Our senior physiotherapists will also use treatment modalities such as