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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Jan 10, 2024

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Causes Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Symptoms Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Risk Factors Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Diagnosis of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Treatment Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Substances

Counseling

Surgery

Prevention Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the term for pain at the front of the knee and around the kneecap. The kneecap is also known as the patella. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is also referred to as "runner's knee." It is more common in runners and athletes that engage in running and jumping-based sports.

More often than not, knee discomfort is brought on by running, stair climbing, extended sitting, and crouching. Simple treatments like ice and deep breathing often help. 


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Causes Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can have several causes. It has a relationship with:

  • Overuse: Running and jumping-based sports put a lot of strain on the knee joint, which can irritate the region under the kneecap.
  • Muscular imbalance or weakness: Patellofemoral pain can occur when the muscles around the hip and knee are unable to keep the kneecap in place. Inward-bent knee squats have been linked to patellofemoral pain.
  • Trauma: Trauma to the kneecap, such as when it cracks or misaligns, has been linked to patellofemoral pain syndrome.
  • Surgery: Knee surgery may result in a higher risk of patellofemoral pain. This is especially important when repairing the anterior cruciate ligament with a patellar tendon graft of one's own.

Also Read: Herniated Disc: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Symptoms Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is most commonly characterized by a dull, agonizing pain in the front of the knee. The following items could exacerbate your pain:

  • Moving up and down stairs.
  • Kneeling or squatting.
  • Increasing the amount of time seated with one knee bent.

Also Read: Polymyositis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications


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Risk Factors Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Several factors can increase your risk, including:

  • Age: Patellofemoral pain syndrome typically affects teenagers and young adults. Arthritis is more often the cause of knee problems in elderly persons.
  • Sex: Patellofemoral pain is twice as common in women as it is in men. The bigger pelvises of women may be the cause of this. In those with wider pelvises, the angle at which the bones of the knee joint meet is bigger.
  • Certain sports: Running and jumping-based sports may put extra strain on the knees. This is especially true when more instruction is added.

Also Read: Hip Dysplasia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Diagnosis of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Your healthcare provider may ask about any previous history of knee problems in addition to applying pressure to your knee and repositioning your leg.

Sometimes, imaging tests can be utilized to identify the cause of knee pain. Potential examinations consist of:

  • Radiography: Under X-ray imaging, bones are apparent. X-rays have limited ability to see soft tissues.
  • CT scanning: Bones and soft tissues are visible on CT scans. On the other hand, CT scans require significantly more radiation than regular X-rays.
  • MRI: Using radio waves and a strong magnetic field, an MRI creates incredibly precise images of bones and soft tissues, including the knee's ligaments and cartilage. MRI scans, however, cost far more than CT, ultrasound, or X-ray scans.
  • Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves are used to display images of muscles and tendons.

Also Read: Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Findings, Diagnosis, Treatment, Risk Factors And Complications

Treatment Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

When treating patellofemoral discomfort, basic procedures are frequently the first to be tried. As much rest as you can give your knee. Activities that can make the pain worse include bending over, kneeling, and climbing stairs.

Substances

Utilize over-the-counter analgesics as needed. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium are some examples of these. Don't let them last more than two or three weeks.

Counseling

A musculoskeletal therapist might suggest:

  • Workouts targeted for rehabilitation: Exercises targeted toward strengthening the muscles responsible for supporting the knees and preserving leg alignment can be performed. One of the main goals is to keep the knee from turning inside during a squat.
  • Braces that provide support: Knee braces or arch supports could help ease pain.
  • Using tape to secure: You could learn how to tape your knee from your physical therapist to reduce pain and enhance your activity capacity.
  • Ice: It could help to ice your knee after a workout.
  • knee-friendly sports: Two sports that are less taxing on the knees and may help with recovery are swimming and cycling.

Surgery

If these conservative measures prove to be ineffective, a physician may suggest:

  • Arthroscopy: To place a pencil-thin device, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the knee's skin. An arthroscope is a device with a light and a lens for a camera. Tools to address the problem can be introduced through smaller skin incisions.
  • Repositioning: In more extreme situations, knee surgery can be necessary to realign the kneecap or relieve pressure on the cartilage.

Also Read: Ewing’s Sarcoma: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Prevention Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Sometimes knee pain just shows up. Still, a few steps could alleviate the pain.

  • Grow stronger: Strong leg and hip muscles help to keep knee balance during exercise. 
  • Progress carefully: Talk to a physical therapist about safe ways to run, jump, and turn. You specifically need to strengthen the muscles that surround your hips. When you do squats, leap landings, and step-downs, this will stop your knee from collapsing inward.
  • Loose weight: If you are overweight, losing weight relieves knee discomfort.
  • Prepare yourself by getting warm: Before you run, or do any other kind of exercise, spend around five minutes or so warming up.
  • Stretching: Stretch lightly to promote flexibility.
  • Climb progressively: Avoid making a sudden change to your workout schedule.
  • Take care of your shoes: Wear footwear that fits well and is appropriate for the activity.

Also Read: Septic Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

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