What is Patellofemoral Pain?
The Patellofemoral joint is made up of the knee cap and the groove it sits on made by your thigh bone.
PFPS is an irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap) and tissues around the kneecap.
This is a common problem with runners and is often referred to as Runner’s Knee Pain. Though it’s not limited to runners and a lot of other athletes suffer from it too.
The main symptom of PFPS is knee pain especially in front of the knee, along the kneecap or behind the kneecap.
Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or PFPS
- Pain in sitting with bent knees
- Pain with running, squatting, jumping, or when using stairs
- Giving out or buckling of the knee
- Popping, catching or grinding sensation when walking or with knee movement
- Soreness along front of the knee or around the kneecap
Causes Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Or Runner’s Knee
1. Overuse or repetitive trauma to the tissue under or surrounding the kneecap. The tissue is unable to recover from the load and stress placed upon it…as in excessive running.
2. Flat feet or excessive foot pronation though not a primary reason can cause increased load on an already overstressed and irritated tissue. Some people tend to benefit from the use of foot orthotics to support the arch.
3. Tight hip capsule resulting in more hip internal rotation can change the alignment between the hip and knee…possibly resulting in poor mechanics. Hip flexibility exercises to stretch hip capsule and local muscles.
4. Increased Q angle: especially common in women this is the angle created between the pelvis and hip. Wide hips can cause an increased Q angle resulting in “knocked knees”…which can change the alignment of the pelvis, hip and knees, possibly resulting in more stress on the patellofemoral joint.
5. Weak quadriceps muscles can also result in increase load on the patellofemoral joint. Quadriceps strengthening without repetitive bending at the knee is better to avoid irritating the patellofemoral joint.
6. Patellofemoral joint stiffness and myofascial restrictions of tissues surrounding the patella or kneecap.
5. Weak hip muscles: gluteus medius and gluteus maximus weakness can cause poor stability at the pelvis, hip and down the chain. Strong hip muscles are very important for properly treating knee problems. So make sure to strengthen hip muscles without putting pressure on the knee.
6. Weak core muscles will result in a weak base which can often lead to mechanical problems down the chain resulting more stress and knee pain. Strong core is important for treating Runner’s knee pain and other leg problems.
It’s very important to treat above and below the chain, making sure to strengthen all the muscles and improving flexibility from head to toe.
Check out video below on causes of Runner’s knee pain