Focus on The Knee — Patellofemoral Pain

What is Patellofemoral Pain?

Patellofemoral pain is pain arising from the kneecap (patella) or the supporting tissues around the kneecap. It is one of the top 3 causes of knee pain we see in our practice and occurs when the patella is not moving or working correctly. Sometimes, there may be early arthritis of the patella, and often there is swelling or fluid in the front of the knee. If you have a weak hip, poor gait pattern, or a particular foot shape, this can make things worse.

How do I know if I have Patellofemoral Pain?

A diagnosis of patellofemoral pain is made based on your medical history, the location of your symptoms, and pain that is reproduced with certain physical tests versus others. An x-ray is not necessary to make a diagnosis.

What Can I do to Help Myself?

As mentioned above, often patients with patellofemoral pain have extra fluid in the front of the knee. This stops your leg muscles from working properly. Once the fluid has been addressed, we can start training your leg muscles, a very important step to getting rid of your pain.

Can Physical Therapy Help?

Patellofemoral Pain is very treatable, and the majority of patients are able to get rid of their pain and return to their normal activities after a few sessions with a physical therapist. Physical therapy sessions may include strengthening the hip and knee muscles and examining the foot to see if it is contributing to the problem. Remember: your exercises must be matched not only to your problem but also your stage of recovery and your functional goals.