Pafellotemoral Pain Syndrome

What Is It?
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a general term meaning pain behind the kneecap. Generally, it is an overuse disorder from activities involving running, cycling, jumping and kneeling.
How It Happens

Normally, there is a groove at the end of the thigh bone (femur) which allows the kneecap (patella) to slide smoothly across it as the thigh muscles (quadriceps) contracts to straighten the knee.

Repetitive bending and straightening of the knee can cause the undersurface of the patella to get irritated and inflamed as it rubs over the end of the femur. If the patella does not align properly in the groove as the quadriceps contracts to extend the leg, wearing of the undersurface of the patella can occur.

Predisposing Factors
  • Overpronated or flat feet
  • "Knock knees"
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • Sudden growth spurt during adolescence

These conditions predispose PFPS because of the alignment of the knees in relation to the hips and ankles.

  • Pain surrounding the kneecap
  • Pain after rising from an extended period of sitting or crouched position
  • Pain with descending stairs
  • Pain with kneeling, running or even walking
  • Occasionally a clicking, or grinding sensation will occur
What Should You Do?
  • Use an ice pack on the knee for 10-15 minutes every few hours when pain is felt
  • Avoid activities that are causing pain
  • See a physiotherapist to start appropriate exercises for the condition
  • Orthotics (custom made shoe inserts) and / or special patella-aligning knee brace are often prescribed for alignment problems

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Pafellotemoral Pain Syndrome
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