Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It
frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It sometimes is
caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the
What causes patellofemoral pain syndrome?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be caused by overuse, injury,
excess weight, a kneecap that is not properly aligned (patellar tracking disorder), or changes under the kneecap.
Stress fractures commonly develop in people who have just dramatically increased their level of physical activity. So to prevent them, go slowly. Experts recommend that you never increase your exercise intensity by more than 10% per week. Make sure to warm up and stretch for a few minutes before exercising. Take frequent breaks to give your body a rest. And if you feel pain during exercise, stop. Don't push through it. High impact sports and work activities increase the risk for stress fractures...
The main symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is knee pain,
especially when sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping, or using the
stairs (especially going down stairs). You may also experience occasional knee
buckling, in which the knee suddenly and unexpectedly gives way and does not
support your body weight. A catching, popping, or grinding sensation when
walking or with knee movement is also common.
How is patellofemoral pain syndrome diagnosed?
Your health professional will conduct a medical history and
physical exam to determine the cause of your pain. In some cases, imaging tests
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be done. These
tests allow a doctor to view the tissues inside your knee to rule out damage to
the structure of the knee and the tissues connected to it.
How is it treated?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be relieved by avoiding
activities that make symptoms worse.
Avoid sitting or kneeling in the bent-knee
position for long periods of time.
Adjust a bicycle or exercise
bike so that the resistance is not too great and the seat is at an appropriate
height. The rider should be able to spin the pedals of an exercise bike without
shifting weight from side to side, and the legs should not be fully extended at
the lowest part of the pedal stroke.
Avoid bent-knee exercises,
such as squats, deep knee bends, or 90-degree leg extensions.
Other methods to relieve pain include:
Taking nonprescription anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to decrease swelling,
stiffness, and pain.
Ice and rest.
exercises. Exercises may include stretching to increase flexibility and
decrease tightness around the knee, and straight-leg raises and other exercises
to strengthen the quadriceps muscle.