If the patella moves out of its normal path, even slightly, it can cause irritation and pain
Pain in the patella (kneecap), especially after sitting for a long time or running downhill, may result from incorrect movement of the patella over the femur or tight tendons. The articular cartilage under the patella may become inflamed as well, leading to another condition called chondromalacia patellae which is found more commonly in women.
The angle formed between the two lines of pull of the quadriceps muscle and the patellar (tendon) ligament is known as the Q-angle. If the patella moves out of its normal path, even slightly, it can cause irritation and pain. Tight tendons also place pressure on the patella causing inflammation.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - Cause of injury
Incorrect running form or improper shoes. Weak or tight quadriceps. Chronic patella dislocations.
Signs and symptoms
Pain on and under the patella which worsens after sitting for extended periods or walking down stairs. Clicking or grinding may be felt when flexing the knee. Dull, aching pain in the centre of the knee.
Complications if left unattended
The inflammation from this condition if left unattended can worsen and cause more permanent damage to the surrounding structures. If the tendon becomes inflamed it could eventually rupture. The cartilage under the patella may also become inflamed.
Rest and reducing exercise intensity and duration. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication.
Rehabilitation and prevention
Rehabilitation starts with restoring the strength and flexibility of the quadriceps. When returning to activity after pain has subsided, gradual increases in intensity, limiting repetitive stresses on the knee and proper warm-up techniques will ensure that the pain does not return.
Strong, flexible quadriceps and hamstrings and avoiding overuse will help prevent patellofemoral pain syndrome. A good warm- up before training will also help.
With complete treatment there are seldom any long-lasting effects. If the condition does not respond to treatment surgical intervention may be necessary.
This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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