Patellofemoral Pain


patellofemoral pain



patellofemoral arthritis





Patellofemoral Pain Description
Patellofemoral Pain is a common cause of pain in the front of the knee.  Patellofemoral pain may be related to muscle imbalance  in children and adolescents.  Patellofemoral pain has also been related to inflexibility secondary to a growth spurt, patellar hypermobility, improper training, and changes in footwear.

Patellofemoral Pain Anatomy
Patellofemoral Pain is

Patellofemoral Pain Symptoms
Patellofemoral Pain causes aching anterior knee pain that increases with activities that place high forces on the front of the knee.  The pain may be dull or shap and intermittent or constant.  People with patellofemoral pain commonly have increased pain when climbing stairs, running on hills, or sitting for prolonged periods such as while watching a movie, or flying.  Kneeling, squating and running are often painful as well. 

Patellofemoral Pain Treatment 
Patellofemoral Pain s diagnosed based on a detailed history, physical exam and xrays performed by an orthopaedic surgeon, or sports medicine specialist. Occasionally special CT scans are also used to evaluate the tracking of the patella.

Patellofemoral pain is generally initially treated with a course of formal physical therapy aimed at strengthening the quad muscles to improve the tracking of the patella.  Quadriceps and hamstring stretching and strengthening is beneficial.  Patellofemoral brace or McConnell taping is often very beneficial at decreasing the pain and symptoms of patellofemoral pain.    NSAID medications are commonly prescribed as well. 

Athletes returning to sports after Patellofemoral Pain should begin with a graduated exercise program. First they should be pain free with daily activities with full range of motion and at least 85% strength in the injured leg compared to the uninjured leg. Exercise begins with light jogging in a straight line, followed by sprinting in a straight line. When these have been done without pain the athlete can proceed to doing agility type drills such as 45º cuts, 90º cuts and jumping. Agility drills should begin at half-speed and proceed to full-speed provided the athlete remains pain free.

Patellofemoral Pain Prevention
Prevention of Patellofemoral Pain is mainly focused on maintaining flexibility around the knee as well as quadriceps muscle strength.

Patellofemoral Pain Risk Factors
Patellofemoral Pain is associated the following sports: Baseball; Basketball; Boxing; Cycling; Dance; Diving; Equestrian Sports; Figure Skating; Football; Golf; Gymnastics; Hockey; RowingRugby; Running; Skiing; Snowboarding; Soccer; Swimming; Tennis; VolleyballWeight Lifting; Wrestling.  Other risk factors for patellofemoral pain include shortened quadriceps muscle, abnormal VMO response time, decreased explosive strength, hypermobile patella

Patellofemoral Pain Rehab and Exercise Program
Patellofemoral Pain

Patellofemoral Pain Outcomes
Patellofemoral Pain generally responds well to therapy with most people able to return to sports and normal activities.  Many will have long term symptoms in the knee, but these are most often mild and manageable.  

Similar injuries that can be confused with Patellofemoral Pain include:
Patellar instability
Meniscal tear
Patellar osteoarthritis
Patellar tendinitis
Synovial Plica
Quadriceps Tendinitis


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