Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of your knee and around your kneecap. However, It is sometimes called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee”. This is because it is common in people who participate in sports, especially females and young adults, but PFPS can occur in nonathletes, as well.
It is the most common running injury with incident frequency of up to 15% in the active population. Research shows that more than 50% of individuals with PFPS continue to experience symptoms after long- term follow up, with high risk factor being poor management and treatment.
-Dull, aching pain in the front of the affected knee
-Pain during activities that bend your knee, including squatting or climbing stairs
-Pain after sitting for extended periods of time with your knees bent
-Crackling or popping sounds in your knee when standing up or climbing stairs
-Pain that increases with changes to your usual playing surface, sports equipment or activity intensity
In many cases, PFPS is caused by vigorous physical activities that put repeated stress on your knee. Such as jogging, squatting, and climbing stairs. It can also be caused by a sudden change in your physical activity. This change can be in the frequency of activity. Such as increasing the number of days you exercise each week. It can also be in the duration or intensity of activity—such as running longer distances.
Other factors that may contribute to patellofemoral pain include the use of improper sports training techniques or equipment, or even changes in footwear or playing surface.
Different diseases can provoke anterior knee pain, without being PFPS, like Chondromalacia patella, which is the softening and breakdown of the articular cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. Similarly, another differential diagnosis would be Osteoarthritis in the knee, Meniscus tears, ligament injuries or even referred pain from the lumbar spine.
Evidence show that exercise therapy and load management is the cornerstone to PFPS treatment. Therefore, changing your training routine or switching to low-impact activities, such as swimming or riding a stationary bike, will place less stress on your knee joint. But there is not always the need to stop your favourite activity. Your Physiotherapist will guide you how to continue your hobby/sport with mild alterations. Only in very few cases, where the condition is in the acute phase, will you be given alternative activities to maintain your fitness until you recover. Physiotherapy treatment for PFPS is designed to relieve your pain and restore range of motion and strength. Your treatment can include soft tissues release, mobilisations, acupuncture, Shockwave or ultrasound. This is in combination with your specific exercises for your condition to help you improve your range of motion, strength, and endurance.
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