Diagnosis: Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) refers to pain in front of the knee and/or around the knee cap. It is an overuse syndrome resulting from repetitive use of the knee commonly associated with weakness, tightness or stiffness in the muscles around the hip or knee. This may interfere with the ability of the patella (kneecap) to glide properly during movement and thus causing pain.
Causes: PFPS will often occur in people who have changed their activity level or who are physically active. Their activity involves repeated leg movements such as running, stair climbing, squatting. There may also be muscle imbalances around the hip and knee or malalignment of the lower leg.
Symptoms: The most common symptom associated with patellofemoral pain syndrome is a dull, achy pain in the front of the knee when walking up and down stairs, sitting with the knee bent for long periods, or kneeling/squatting. Some people feel or hear popping or cracking when bending or straightening the knee.
Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Goals of physical therapy will be to reduce pain, restore normal range of motion and strength, and provide a safe return to all functional and leisure activities. Treatment will most commonly include:
- Mechanical diagnosis/treatment for pain reduction and improved motion and strength
- Addressing any malalignment issues in the lower leg
- Knee and hip strengthening and stretching exercises
- Manual mobilizations of patella
- Taping and bracing as needed
Treatment will focus on the individual needs of the patient and creating a home exercise program to manage and prevent reoccurrences in the future.