Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap. It is sometimes referred to as Runner’s Knee and is the most common running injury. However non-runners can suffer from it, particularly office workers who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk.
The most common symptom of Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee. The pain usually increases gradually. It can be associated with activities that repeatedly bend the knee such as climbing stairs or running. Or at the other end of the scale it may be noticeable after sitting for a long period of time with your knee bent like when on an aeroplane. Occasionally sufferers report popping or cracking sounds in their knee when climbing stairs or when standing up after a long period of sitting.
In many cases patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by overuse, any activity that puts repeated stress on the knee, or it may be triggered by an increase in physical activity. There may also be mechanical factors at work – abnormal tracking of the kneecap in the trochlear groove – which causes the patella to be pushed out to one side of the groove.
This will irritate the soft tissues surrounding the patella.
There may also be problems with the alignment of the limbs between the hips and the ankles or muscular imbalances especially in the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh.
If there is a biomechanical dysfunction, a detailed assessment of the lower limb mechanics should be carried out to determine whether foot orthotics will help to provide optimum alignment and function, reducing stress at the patellofemoral joint.