Patellofemoral pain is a general term for pain around or behind the kneecap, commonly known as ‘runner’s knee’. Despite this association with running, it can also be provoked by other activities such as squatting or even walking up and downstairs.
What causes Patellofemoral pain?
There are many potential causes of patellofemoral pain. The most commonly occurring aggravating factor is a sudden increase in load or change in loading pattern which may result in an inability of the structures around your knee to adapt effectively to this load change. Another potential aggravating factor is poor biomechanics; the pelvis, hip or foot position being altered due to muscular weakness or imbalance increasing the pressure over the kneecap.
There are other factors that may contribute to your knee pain. Your physiotherapist will ask about previous injuries, trauma, surgery or systemic diseases and may assess your back, hip and feet.
Managing My Patellofemoral Pain
Good quality, personalised exercise rehabilitation is the key to treating runner’s knee. A thorough assessment with one of our physiotherapists will mean they can design a personalized rehabilitation plan to address your individual needs. First, your physiotherapist may suggest that you modify certain activities that have aggravated your symptoms, for example running or specific gym exercises. A graduated strengthening programme will progress to functional movement with the aim of mimicking daily activities or the demands of the individual’s sport. Your physiotherapist will demonstrate and supervise any new exercises to ensure your technique is correct. We may also assess your running technique, as there is evidence that some small changes to running technique can help to reduce the load on the anterior knee.
Author: Ahmad Salma MISCP – Ahmad is a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist