Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
 
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Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) is a common condition, comprising a range of vague symptoms of pain ‘in’, ‘under’ or ‘behind’ the kneecap.

The patella (kneecap) is coated with a smooth covering called articular cartilage. It is designed to move smoothly over a groove on the femur (thigh bone). When the patella is not moving properly over the femur, PFS can develop. This knee problem commonly appears in runners and athletes.

Many muscle groups and ligaments control the triangular-shaped patella. The patella and the femur form a joint – called the patellofemoral joint- that is made up of muscles, soft tissue attachments and the groove where the patella rests.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can typically be treated with a non-operative treatment program.
 
Symptoms Include:
  • Swelling and tightness.
  • Creaking or cracking sound when bending the knee.
Treatment:
Non-surgical treatment
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can usually be effectively treated with a non-operative treatment program. It can take the knee six weeks or more to show improvement once treatment begins; this is often the same length of time the pain has been present.
  • Activity modification: physical activities should be decreased. Exercises that cause pain should be avoided.
  • Cold therapy to stimulate blood flow and relieve the pain associated with inflammation. Cold therapy should be applied several times over the course of the day.
  • Rehabilitation to strengthen and rebalance the muscles about the knee.
  • A knee sleeve, knee brace or taping to support the joint during healing. (Special knee braces can keep the patella tracking properly during motion.)
  • Orthotics can be used to correct for irregularities such as over pronation and ankle misalignment.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn and Celebrex may be used to decrease knee pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting these medications.
Surgical treatment
  • Arthroscopic lateral release will allow the patella to track properly.
  • Ligament tightening.


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