Patellofemoral Pain, which is also known as runners knee is one of the most common injuries for athletes accounting for 25% of all knee injuries. During normal bending of the knee, the knee cap should be well positioned allowing it to glide in front of the femur without irritation to the surface on the back of the knee cap. When this surface becomes irritated it causes pain in the front of the knee around the knee cap, this being the diagnosis of Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Causes; A few of the main causes include knee cap instability (usually a traumatic episode to cause this) pain with malalignment and pain without malalignment. Generally muscle imbalances of the thigh and pelvic muscles, too much activity that places extra stress on the knee cap and poor allignment of the patellofemoral joint are common indicators of this.
Symptoms; PFPS usually has a gradual onset often without a particular episode, making it hard to identify and often ignored in the early stages. Common symptoms to keep an eye out for include pain with deep knee bending e.g. going down stairs, running downhill or standing after sitting for a long period.
Treatment; Assessment with a Physiotherapist will confirm the diagnosis prior to any treatment. Treatment includes activity modification avoiding any aggravating movements mentioned above, graded strength program targetting the quadriceps and gluteal muscles, correct footwear and occasionally orthotics to assist with alignment and reduce altered loading through the knee joint. Taping has also proven to be effective with this condition as it provides additional support with kneecap positioning with loaded bending.