Kneecap Pain Series


I have had a number of questions recently about pain around the kneecap (patellofemoral pain syndrome) and what can be done to help this condition.

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First, a bit of background. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is a multi-faceted pain condition, like many pain problems, and can vary from person to person. In general though, PFPS presents as pain at the front of the knee that is aggravated with activities that compress the patellofemoral joint (joint between patella and femur) such as squatting, climbing stairs, running, kneeling, prolonged sitting and so on.

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Now, contrary to what many providers will tell you, pain in this region does not necessarily mean something is wrong with the cartilage of your knee (termed chondromalacia) or any other tissue. In many cases, the pain is really just thought to be a result of the nervous system being overly protective. Additionally, even if you do have signs of degeneration to structures of the patellofemoral joint, this does not mean you will for sure have pain. Large percentages of painless individuals show signs of degeneration, so let’s not stress too much about what an imaging study might show us. Remember, YOU ARE NOT YOUR MRI. Imaging tools are useful, but they only tell part of the story.

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So, what do you do for PFPS? Well, this obviously varies person to person, but there are a few general interventions that work for many people. These usually revolve around modifying stress on the joint, learning to move the leg differently with certain activities and strengthening the muscles (mainly glutes) that control alignment of the lower extremity.

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Posted on April 26, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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