Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Frisco, TX
Persistent pain around the kneecap or patella is referred to as the Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. It is also termed as ‘runner’s knee’ and is observed to affect the sportspersons and women the most. The knee is a large complex joint that marks the conjunction of the femur, tibia, fibula and the patella (knee cap). Four main ligaments, tendons and muscles help keep the joint stable as well as enable its movement. The joint surface is covered by the thin layer of synovium while the thick articular cartilage forms the protective lining between the bone structures that absorbs external shocks. Patellofemoral Pain occurs when any of these constituent parts is affected or damaged and the pain occurs in the area around the knee cap.

Causes

  • Misaligned patella- the knee cap bone may be pushed to one side within the joint due to muscular weakness, faulty alignment of the legs and the hips or due to other reasons which irritates the surrounding tissues
  • Overuse injuries- activities that involve a lot of bending and flexing of the knee such as squatting, kneeling etc. can lead to this syndrome over a period of time
  • A direct fall or trauma
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Changing the intensity of work out suddenly which does not allow the knee joint to get accustomed to it
  • Sports activities that involve a lot of twisting, turning, changing directions etc. may stress the knee joint

Symptoms

  • Pain is felt in the form of a dull ache after and during any activity that involves running, walking, standing for long, sitting with knees bent etc.
  • Stiffness
  • Walking uphill or climbing the stairs is difficult
  • A popping or grinding feeling during knee movement
  • Trying to stand after remaining in a sitting position for long is painful

Diagnosis

  • A detailed discussion about the patient’s daily activities, past injuries, symptoms is carried out to understand the problem
  • X-ray imaging is required to study the changes or damage in bone structure if any
  • MRI and CT scan is particularly helpful in revealing the soft tissue condition
  • The patient is asked to perform a few physical movements to assess the range of motion
  • Palpation may be used to check the alignment of knee cap and location of pain
  • The gait of the patient is assessed

Treatment

  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome can be treated through conservative methods in a few weeks. In case of serious underlying causes, or patients who do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended.
  • The affected knee (s) need to be provided adequate rest to allow the joint to heal
  • The leg needs to be rested in an elevated position at chest level
  • Ice packs can be used for 24-72 hours to bring down inflammation or pain
  • Soft bandages for compression may be helpful
  • Specific orthotic devices or show inserts can work to reduce the pressure on the joint while moving
  • Physical therapy that aims at strengthening and improving flexibility of the knee are highly recommended
  • Arthroscopy is a surgical method used to remove cartilage debris from the joint
  • A tight tendon that may cause pain or misalignment of the patella can be loosened surgically
  • Surgical realignment of the patella
  • It is advisable to wear good sports shoes and maintain ideal body weight to prevent knee pain