PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME (PFPS)
WHAT CAUSES PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN?
As mentioned above, patellofemoral pain is actually a term used to describe a number of different conditions. Because of this, there are many different causes of patellofemoral pain. Sometimes the pain is brought about by overuse, such as in sports or training. Poor muscle conditioning can also cause the kneecap to move around more than normal, which wears away at the tissue behind the kneecap. Patella tracking issues may also cause patellofemoral pain, as can posture issues with conditions such as flat feet. Patellofemoral pain can also occur due to blunt trauma or force to the knee.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The most obvious symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain behind or around the kneecap. This pain may increase when the knee is bent - usually when kneeling, squatting, going down stairs, or from long periods of sitting. Simple activities such as walking may also cause pain. Some patients may experience swelling, and others may experience popping and grinding sensations in the knee.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
If you think you are suffering from patellofemoral pain it’s best to check with your doctor. Often initial options include the RICE method. This includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. These steps help in reducing pain and swelling and encourages healing. Some patients also use anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling, such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
After the pain is reduced, patients can gradually return to activity. Some physicians recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knees. This helps prevent further instances of patellofemoral pain. Wearing a patellofemoral knee brace is usually recommended, such as the DonJoy Reaction Knee Brace. This brace has a web-like design that helps reduce the impact on your knees as you move around. It can also be worn during sports and is designed to alleviate knee pain.
If you're a runner, make sure to wear proper footwear and try to run on softer surfaces. This can reduce the amount of shock and stress on your knees.