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What Is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

October 01, 2018

Feature | What Is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Understand the pain of a runner as we go through questions and answers pertaining to patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome | What You Should Know


What Is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome or the “runner’s knee” is a health condition where the patient feels mild-to-severe pain around the back of the kneecap extending to the thigh bone. It commonly occurs (but not exclusive to) in people who are active in sports such as basketball players, runners, and cyclists.

Why Does Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Occur?

Overuse of the knee is the primary reason for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Many physical activities, such as squatting, climbing stairs or mountain climbing, and jogging, can put too much pressure and stress on the knee.

Another cause is the sudden change in physical activity. An example is a sudden increase in the number of workout days in a week.

Increasing the duration or intensity of exercise is also a factor. A sudden shift from short-distance runs to longer ones is a perfect example. Improper use of training equipment can also contribute to the runner’s knee.

Patellar malalignment is another cause, too. Every time you bend your knee, your patella is pushed out to one side of the groove. This increases the pressure between the trochlea and the back of the patella.

When Do You Need to Have This Condition Checked?

When Do You Need to Have This Condition Checked? | What Is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Severe pain that causes too much discomfort is best checked by a physician. An immediate check is also advisable if the pain persists even after applying natural treatments. Another thing to consider is if the pain or discomfort limit your range of motion.

Who Should You Consult About the Runner’s Knee?

Because patellofemoral stress syndrome is a musculoskeletal condition, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon. They are trained to treat, diagnose, prevent, and rehabilitate diseases, injuries, and disorders in the musculoskeletal system. They can give you surgical and non-surgical therapies for the runner’s knee.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Runner’s Knee?

The orthopedic surgeon will conduct a physical examination of your knee. You may be asked when the pain started, its severity and nature, and the activities that worsen the symptoms. Aside from that, your doctor may ask you to get an x-ray examination for your knee. This is to check the damage of your knee structure and the tissues that connect to it.

Where Does Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Treatment Start?

Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of the symptoms and the results of your diagnosis. If its a mild affectation, ask your doctor about home treatment options. These knee pain remedies can include resting the knee, applying a cold compress on the affected area, doing compression, and elevating your legs. If the symptoms still persist, your doctor may advise you to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or to undergo surgery.


For more about patellofemoral pain syndrome, watch this video from Madden PT:

Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be common among athletes but non-athletes who perform strenuous activities are at risk, too. Observing gentle movements and proper posture when doing tasks may help prevent the discomfort brought about by this condition.

What natural remedies for the runner’s knee can you share with us? Drop them in the comments section!

 Up Next: Medial Epicondylitis | What Is Golfer’s Elbow?

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