Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a condition characterized by pain around the kneecap (patella) and in the front of the knee. It is a common cause of knee pain in both athletes and non-athletes, and it occurs more frequently in women than men. The patellofemoral joint is where the kneecap (patella) slides along a groove in the thighbone (femur), and this area can become irritated and painful for various reasons, including muscle imbalances, poor alignment, overuse, or injury.
Common symptoms of patellofemoral pain include:
- Pain around the kneecap or in the front of the knee
- Pain that worsens with activities like squatting, jumping, running, or climbing stairs
- A feeling of cracking or popping in the knee
- Knee stiffness or swelling
The diagnosis typically involves evaluation by a specialist with physical examination, and possibly imaging tests like X-rays or MRI to rule out other conditions that could be causing your knee pain.
The treatment for patellofemoral pain often involves a multidisciplinary approach:
- Rest and Ice: Initial treatment often involves resting the affected knee and applying ice to reduce inflammation.
- Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended.
- Physical Therapy: Exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps, can help improve patellar tracking and relieve pain.
- Orthotics and Bracing: Shoe inserts or knee braces may be recommended to improve knee alignment.
- Activity Modification: Changing or limiting activities that worsen the pain, at least temporarily, may be necessary.
- Surgery: In severe or persistent cases that do not respond to conservative treatment, surgical options like arthroscopy may be considered to correct underlying issues.
At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine we have orthopedic specialists who can evaluate and determine the correct treatment for your specific condition.