What is Patellofemoral Syndrome?
Patellofemoral syndrome is a common knee problem, also called “runner’s knee”. Though runner’s knee can resolve with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories, physical therapy helps when there is a continued problem.
What causes Patellofemoral Syndrome?
Runner’s knee is caused by a lot of related factors. Generally the most common is an overuse injury. Genu Valgum (knock knees), muscle imbalances, or being flat footed are all causes of runner’s knee. Essentially all of these misalign the patella (knee cap) on the femur. This means that the knee cap is not sliding well on the grooves of the femur. Poor patellar tracking concentrates force in one area. Instead forces should be spread out. When the force is in one area it irritates the knee. Similarly it is like a car being out of alignment. Basically tires wear unevenly because forces aren’t spread out.
How do you treat Patellofemoral Syndrome?
Firstly modalities will help reduce pain and inflammation. Secondly massage helps manage pain and muscle tightness. Then taping techniques further reduce symptoms. Additionally some people will find orthotic shoe inserts helpful. Finally therapists will use exercises to strengthen specific muscles around the knee and hip. This improves alignment of the patella over the femur. Subsequently resulting in the patella gliding better and more evenly on the femur. This provides lasting improvement to pain and function.
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