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Physical therapy for patellofemoral pain syndrome

What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?

Also known as “runner’s knee,” patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to chronic pain in the patella, or kneecap. The condition is especially common in athletes and individuals who engage in activities that place inordinate stress on the knee joint.

The symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome range from mild discomfort to severe, even debilitating pain, however, the condition typically doesn’t require surgical intervention. Lifestyle changes and physical therapy exercises can resolve the condition altogether and help patients return to everyday activities.

Source: Healthline

The symptoms of Patellofemoral pain syndrome

The symptom most commonly associated with PFPS is a persistent dull, aching pain in the front of the knee. The sensation can be present in one or both knees, and tends to begin gradually and worsen during or immediately following activity.

Patients may experience increased discomfort when engaging in activities that require bending the knee, such as climbing stairs, squatting, or sitting for a prolonged period of time. A popping or crackling sensation will often accompany the pain.

The most common symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome include:

  • Pain in the knee
  • Increased pain during or after activity
  • Increased pain after sitting for a long period of time
  • Crackling or popping sensation in the knee

Source: OrthoInfo

What causes patellofemoral pain syndrome?

The condition is strongly associated with a number of activities and risk factors. Overuse is perhaps the primary contributing factor; patients who frequently run, jump, or otherwise place repeated stress on the knee are at high risk. In addition, a previous injury to or surgery on the knee represents a major risk factor.

Some physiological traits can also increase a patient’s risk of developing patellofemoral pain syndrome. For example, as with ACL injuries, PFPS is more likely to affect women. Muscular imbalances or weaknesses, such as a misaligned kneecap likewise represent secondary risk factors.

The most common causes of patellofemoral pain syndrome include:

  • Overuse from activities such as running or jumping
  • Previous injury to the knee
  • Knee surgery
  • Pre-existing muscle or bone conditions

Source: MayoClinic

Physical therapy for patellofemoral pain syndrome

The good news for patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome is that the condition only very rarely requires surgery. In the vast majority of cases, physical therapy is enough to resolve the condition. After an initial consultation, a physical therapist can create a treatment program tailored to the patient’s condition and needs (often consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises).

Most physical therapy routines for patellofemoral pain syndrome will include a number of exercises targeted at the hip, knee, and ankle; strengthening these three regions in conjunction can help to reduce pressure on the knee. For athletes in particular, physical therapists can provide guidance concerning taping, bracing, and other pain relief strategies.

Source: Move Forward PT

Luna — physical therapy at your home for patellofemoral pain syndrome

Luna PTs specialize in treating patients suffering from PFPS and chronic knee pain. Our licensed therapists work with patients on a 1-to-1 basis to create a targeted program of passive and active treatments.

The best part? With Luna, patients can receive physical therapy right in the comfort of their own homes. Our therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

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