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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

General Description

Patellofemoral pain syndrome happens most commonly athletes, teenagers, and manual laborers. This is when there is a wearing down, softening, or roughening of the cartilage that is located underneath the kneecap. Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be caused by overuse, injury, excess weight, a kneecap that is not properly aligned, or changes under the kneecap. The main sign that you have patellofemoral pain syndrome is that you experience pain whenever you are sitting with your knees bent, are squatting, using the stairs, or jumping. Knee buckling is also a common symptom, this is when the knee suddenly gives way and does not do its job of supporting your body weight. You may notice that when you walk, or move your knee, there is a catching, popping, or grinding sensation in your knee.

Causes

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be brought on by activities that place continuous stress on the knee, whether its squatting, jogging, or climbing stairs. However, a sudden change in physical activity can also cause it to occur. This can range from changing the frequency of an activity, to increasing the duration or intensity of the workout. Other things that can cause it can be bad sports training techniques, changing normally used footwear. This is why it is so important to stay conscious of the choices you make when choosing shoes, and certain activities. Always make sure to stay in touch with your body’s abilities, and plan activities accordingly.

 

Typical Treatment

Many of the painful symptoms that arise from Patellofemoral pain syndrome can actually relieved by avoiding any activities that cause the symptoms to get worse.  You should be sure to avoid sitting, kneeling, or squatting in a bent-knee position for longer periods of time. If you have experienced this injury, make sure that you avoid some of the most pressure inducing knee exercises, like as squats or deep knee bends. You may also be prescribed to take pain relieving medicine, use ice, and rest, or even heat to help while healing. Healing time will depend on the intensity of the injury.

Physical therapy also brings great benefits when healing. Some exercises may include strategic stretching to help increase flexibility and decrease tightness around the knee, straight-leg raises and other exercises to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. In rare occasions, these treatments may not be enough to fully heal the pain, in this case, surgery may be needed.

How to Prevent it

It is very important to exercise the muscles around the knee, and keep them strong.

This will give the knee enough support to prevent it from receiving too much stress and pressure. Some of these exercises can include leg extensions. Additionally, always be sure to wear shoes that have good support, warm up before any exercise, stretch before and after, and increase your training slowly. By taking preventative steps every day, you are ensuring that your body will be able to keep up with the active lifestyle you want to lead. The more your body becomes used, the more that you will be able to continue using it to the best of its ability.