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What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?



Patellofemoral pain syndrome is commonly referred to as anterior knee pain, and is a condition that often affects runners. It is also referred to as patella (kneecap) maltracking.


Why does patellofemoral pain syndrome occur?



Usually, the kneecap runs smoothly in a shallow groove in the thigh as we bend and straighten our knee. However, in patellofemoral pain syndrome abnormal gliding of the kneecap in this groove occurs. This results in friction between the kneecap and thigh bone and causes inflammation and pain. If untreated, this friction can lead to some 'wear and tear' to the cartilage lining of the kneecap. Reasons for this include:
  • Running mechanics
  • Abnormal biomechanics/postures
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Training errors
  • Previous knee injury

What are the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome?



The major symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is gradual development of pain localised to the front of the knee, or under the kneecap. Usually, pain is worsened by exercises such as cycling, running or activities that involve repetitive bending of the knee. Furthermore, sitting for prolonged periods with a bent knee or kneeling is painful. Other symptoms may include:
  • Pain after exercise
  • Crepitus (clicking or grinding noises)
  • Swelling around the knee
  • Balance disturbances
  • Walking disturbances

Biomechanical analysis for patellofemoral pain syndrome?



Altered postures or running mechanics are often the underlying cause for the development of this condition. Altered biomechanics result abnormal stresses being applied to the joints and can result in altered kneecap orientation and maltracking. These abnormalities can often be a result of muscle imbalances or adoption of poor technique for long periods of time. Moreover, these abnormalities are not necessarily at the knee itself. These may include:
  • Poor control and/or weakness at the hip
  • Overpronation at the foot (excessive inward rolling of the foot) or collapsed arches.
  • Excessive knee valgus posture (knocking knees)
At Physio.co.uk we offer video gait analysis of your running mechanics by experienced sports physiotherapists. Our therapists will identify any discrepancies in your running mechanics and develop a specific treatment programme to correct them and stop your knee pain, and even improve your performance.

To arrange a biomechanical running assessment with one of the specialist physiotherapists, please call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 today. You can also book appointments online using our online booking system


Call us on: 0330 088 7800
Phone: 0330 088 7800
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