Have you been experiencing pain behind or around the kneecap?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the medical term for pain felt behind or underneath the kneecap, where your patella (kneecap) articulates with your thigh bone (femur). This joint is known as your patellofemoral joint (PFJ).
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is mainly due to excessive PFJ pressure from poor kneecap alignment, which can over time affect the joint surface behind the kneecap. Kneecap malalignment is caused by abnormal muscle imbalance and poor biomechanical control.
Muscle imbalances may be due to weakness in vastus medialis oblique (inside quadriceps muscle) due to disuse, or surgery, or swelling. Another cause of imbalances may be tightness of your lateral knee structures (lateral retinaculum, vastus lateralis and iliotibial band), causing the kneecap to drift sideways over time.
Biomechanical issues such as weak hip control, or poor foot posture (flat feet) may cause the knee to twist and result in lateral deviation of patella. Poor movement patterns/ habits such as incorrect squatting or landing techniques may also put increased pressure on the kneecap.
Patient will often complain of pain in squatting, stairs, kneeling, running, or sustained knee bend ie.) sitting in a chair at work.
Physiotherapy intervention is very effective for short and long term PFJ pain.
Physiotherapy helps with: pain relief; regaining normal range of motion for the knee and kneecap; correcting muscle imbalances by restoring normal muscle length, and normalizing quad balance; normalizing foot and hip mechanics; normalizing movement patterns and technique; and restoring high speed, power and proprioception to allow return to sport.