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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - What it is

What is patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)?

patellofemoral pain syndrome PFPS conditions and treatments

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) describes pain on and around the kneecap. It is also sometimes called anterior knee pain syndrome or “runner’s knee”, because it is common in runners and active individuals. In general, Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) occurs when the patella does not move or track smoothly which affects proper alignment on the femur (i.e. thigh bone) when the knee is bent.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Symptoms

Symptoms for Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) include aching and front of the knee pain that may be provoked by bending the knee, climbing stairs or sitting for long periods of time with the knee bent. There are several risk factors for Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) including repetitive deep knee bending, flat feet, technical errors in running or sports, tight illiotibial band, muscle imbalances as well as weak thigh and gluteal muscles.

You should seek medical attention if you have severe knee pain associated with inability to put weight on the affected leg, severe swelling, or onset of numbness or weakness of the lower leg.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - How to prevent?

What Can You Do?

To prevent Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), avoid excessive training or sudden increases in physical activity level. Muscles that are involved in running and other lower limb sports should be adequately strengthened, so that they can meet the demands of your sporting and daily activities. Avoid rapid increases in volume or speed of running.

You should also check that your shoes are not worn-out excessively as they may not provide adequate support or shock absorption. Choose a shoe with a correct fit that is suitable for your foot type.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Causes and Risk Factors

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Diagnosis

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Treatments

How We Can Help You?

Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical examination to determine the cause of your knee pain. Imaging tests may be ordered, although Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) typically does not require imaging to be diagnosed and the X-rays may be normal. You may also be asked to run on a treadmill so that your gait can be assessed.

Treatments that your doctor may recommend include:

  • Strength, flexibility and conditioning exercises through physiotherapy. Physiotherapy exercise can help you regain the range of motion in your knee and correct muscle imbalances which affect kneecap movement. You may also be taught exercises to strengthen the core, buttock, and thigh muscles. Stretches to improve flexibility will also be taught. Below are some of the exercises which may be taught to you.
    • Single leg mini squat
    • Bulgarian squat
    • Running man on trampoline
    • Double leg bridging
    • Single leg bridging
    • Double leg ½ squats
    • Single leg ½ squats
    • Double leg chair stands
    • Single leg chair stands
    • Clams
    • Hip flexor stretch
    • IT band form roller stretch
    • IT band stretch in lying
    • IT band stretch in standing
  • Your doctor may also recommend sports taping of the knee to help facilitate exercise without pain.
  • Your doctor may also help to modify your usual activities to a level you can comfortable tolerate. It may be helpful to reduce activities which are repetitive, involve deep knee bending and have high-impact on the knees, such as running, climbing stairs or step aerobics. You can also replace high-impact activities with exercises such as cycling, swimming, deep water running, rowing or elliptical training.
  • If deemed necessary by your doctor, a podiatry consult for further assessment and orthotic (i.e. insoles) fitting may be scheduled.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Preparing for surgery

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Post-surgery care

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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