Patellofemoral Pain


What is it?

Patellofemoral pain is pain under the knee felt along the bones or joint line. It is usually caused by overloading the knees with a new activity, doing too much of an activity, or a sudden injury to the knee.

What does it feel like?

There are many structures that can cause pain in and around the knee. Patellofemoral pain tends to be more near the front of the knee but can be felt closer to the knee cap as well. The pain is vague and often related to loading the knee or performing forward movements eg lunges, going down stairs or down ramps.

What causes Patellofemoral pain?

The main cause of patellofemoral pain is the underside of the knee cap (patella) rubbing on the end of the thigh bone (femur).When the knee is loaded this bone on bone contact produces an irritation and can cause pain and discomfort at the site or surrounding areas. You may or may not experience swelling but it can be easily distinguished from other structures that may be causing the pain.

How is Patellofemoral pain diagnosed?

Your Physiotherapist can diagnose your knee pain from your symptoms, mechanism of injury and from a few specific tests around your knee. Due to a patellofemoral pain having a large loading component as the cause of pain your physiotherapist will look at other surrounding structures eg your hip and ankle, to determine the exact cause of your pain. It can normally be diagnosed without invasive tests or investigations. Further investigations such as x-rays or ultrasound scans may be required if your symptoms are not improving after a few months of rehabilitation or to eliminate other causes of your pain.

How can Back in Action Physiotherapy help?

At Back in Action we will talk to you and listen to how your pain is affecting your everyday activities. We will look at how much of an impact your hip, back and ankles are in relation to your pain.  We will also look at the whole mechanical chain including how you bend, squat, walk and run.  We will treat the local symptoms with techniques such as mobilisations, massage, stretching, acupuncture, and give you some basic home exercises to help you get better, faster. We can advise and educate you about your injury and set goals with you to achieve in and out of our sessions. Before you come to see us at Back in Action have a think about all of the different things in your day that can bring on your knee pain. Painkillers and Anti-inflammatories can help to relieve some pain and we recommend you see your local Pharmacist or Doctor regarding the best type for you.