WHAT IS PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME (PFPS)?
PFPS is a term used for pain in and around the patella (kneecap). “Patellofemoral pain syndrome” is an umbrella term encompassing a number of conditions, making it inappropriate and useless to offer generic “treatment options for PFPS.” It is important to seek medical advice to determine as specific a diagnosis as possible.
If you’re experiencing PFPS, you’re likely to have pain in your knee that gets worse when you sit, climb stairs, run, lunge, or squat.
PFPS is common in runners and athletes but can affect anyone at any age. PFPS is most commonly caused by overuse of the knee from jogging, squatting, lunging or stair climbing. Suddenly changing or increasing the amount of physical activity you do can also put excess stress on the knee, contributing to PFPS. In addition, inappropriate equipment or footwear may result in poor alignment of the knee and improper tracking of the knee cap.
HOW CAN OUR PHYSICAL THERAPISTS HELP WITH PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME?
In many cases, PFPS is coupled with poor mobility of the hips and the ankle. This can be combined with weakness of the hip, thigh, and buttock muscles. In addition, if you have imbalances at the core and hip muscles, you may compensate in the way you walk, squat, lunge, run or perform other athletic movements. The best way to know what is contributing to your knee pain is to have a movement analysis performed by a orthopedic specialist.
Depending on the nature of your problem, there are a number of exercises and modifications that your physical therapist may suggest to strengthening and stabilize your lower extremity and core as well as help you restore normal mobility. Manual therapy, taping, and instrumented assisted soft tissue manipulation may also be introduced to reduce pain and recover normal motion. Your therapist will also advise on whether you’re wearing the right footwear, using the proper equipment, and following the best training regime to reduce the likelihood of the problem continuing or recurring.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT PFPS?
If you think you might be at risk from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, the best things you can do to reduce your chances of injury are:
- Introduce a new training regime or a change in activity slowly. Your physical therapists can advise you on putting your activity plan in place
- Get expert guidance to make sure your footwear is appropriate for you and your sport
- Maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting excess strain on your knees
- Warm up thoroughly before exercising
- Actively stretch your quads and hamstrings before and after exercise
- Don’t push yourself – if you’re exercising and your knee (or anything else for that matter) begins to hurt, stop, and reach out to our office for a consultation!
- Do not ignore your pain! When addressed through a customized physical therapy treatment plan, you can overcome patellofemoral knee syndrome. However, ignoring pain and engaging in repetitive activity can result in a further decline of your knee health.
GET RELIEF TODAY!
If you are concerned about your knee pain, our physical therapists at Physical Therapy Innovations are here to help you.
The good news about patellofemoral pain syndrome is it’s preventable and treatable. It typically doesn’t mean an end to your activities or sport (although you may need to take time off to recover). It’s essential to consult with a doctor or physical therapist if you are experiencing knee pain. This will help you determine the cause of your knee pain and ensure you’re engaging in the right therapeutic exercises to rehabilitate your knee.
If you’re suffering from knee pain, Physical Therapy Innovation’s team of highly trained physical therapists are here to help you determine the root cause of your discomfort. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and let us get you on the road to recovery.