Patellofemoral syndrome or patellofemoral pain syndrome is a term used to describe pain around the patella or kneecap and in the front of the knee.
|International case series with train supports. In total, 1,651 patient cases were documented in Bauerfeind’s non-interventional study on the use of supports and orthoses to treat sports injuries. 37 treatment centers in nine countries took part and recorded data from international medical practice. Bauerfeind Life Magazine|
Also known as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee, it often affects athletes and those who engage in running, basketball, and other sports.
However, patellofemoral syndrome can also affect non-athletes and is frequently seen in adolescents, young people, manual workers, and older adults.
The American Academy of Family Physicians report that patellofemoral syndrome is the most common cause of knee pain in the population. It can be caused by overuse of the knee joint, physical trauma, or misalignment of the kneecap.
|What is it?|
|The onset of patellofemoral syndrome can be gradual or result from a single incident. A condition known as chondromalacia patella may also be present.
Chondromalacia is characterized by a wearing away and softening of the cartilage around the knee, which leads to inflammation and pain.
|When a person has patellafemoral syndrome, their knee pain can become worse when they do any of the following movements:
Other symptoms they may have can include:
|Causes and risk factors|
|Patellofemoral syndrome happens when the back of the kneecap comes into contact with the thigh bone. The exact reason this occurs is not entirely understood, but it is linked to:
|Factors which increase the likelihood of developing an illness or injury are known as risk factors.
Common risk factors for patellofemoral syndrome include:
|A doctor will inquire about symptoms and may ask a person to move their legs and knees in certain ways to check for instability and determine the range of motion.
In some cases, imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI scans, may be ordered to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other conditions.
|There are several treatments available when someone has patellofemoral syndrome, including:|
|For many cases of patellofemoral syndrome, simple measures, such as rest and ice, may be enough to alleviate pain and swelling.
The RICE protocol, standing for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, involves resting the leg, applying ice packs regularly, using compression bandages, and elevating the knee above heart level. The RICE protocol is most effective when used within 72 hours of injury.
|Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help to reduce the pain and swelling associated with patellofemoral syndrome. NSAIDs should not be taken on long-term basis due to the risk of gastrointestinal problems.|
|A therapist may recommend:
Working with a qualified physical therapist can help alleviate symptoms and speed up recovery time.
|As overuse of the knee is a primary contributing factor to patellofemoral syndrome, activity modification is one way to reduce further damage to the knee and prevent a recurrence of the condition.People who experience patellofemoral syndrome may wish to reduce or avoid activities that include repetitive high-impact actions, such as:
Examples of low-impact exercises that put less strain on the knees include:
|Surgery is usually carried out using an arthroscope, a thin tube containing a camera and light. The scope is inserted into the knee, and surgical tools are used to remove damaged cartilage.
This minimally invasive procedure can increase mobility and relieve tension.
Severe cases of patellofemoral syndrome may involve an operation on the knee to change the direction that the patella passes over and rubs against with the femur.
|Patellofemoral syndrome can be painful and debilitating.
While not all cases can be prevented, certain steps can be taken to reduce the risk of knee problems. These include:
|Recovery time varies between individuals and depends on factors that include the severity of the symptoms and the treatments used.
However, most cases will heal within several weeks with the use of at-home and minimally invasive therapies. Employing the RICE protocol and engaging in low-impact activities improves the outlook for many people.
It may take up to 5 months to completely recover, especially if the patellofemoral syndrome was brought on by physical trauma.
Source Medical News Today
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Management of patellofemoral pain syndrome, Dixit S, DiFiori JP, Burton M, Mines B. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Jan 15;75(2):194-202. Review.
Patellofemoral disorders: An overview. An interview with Dr. Beth Shubin Stein and Dr. Sabrina Strickland, 2016, October 26. Hospital for Special Surgery
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Petersen W, Ellermann A, Gösele-Koppenburg A, Best R, Rembitzki IV, Brüggemann GP, Liebau C. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2014 Oct;22(10):2264-74. doi: 10.1007/s00167-013-2759-6. Epub 2013 Nov 13. Review.