Patellofemoral Syndrome (PFS), also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee, is a common knee condition characterized by pain around or behind the kneecap. Regardless of age or activity level, this syndrome can limit daily activities. In this article, EVO sheds light on this condition by exploring the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments to help you better understand PFS.

Causes of Patellofemoral Syndrome

Poor Biomechanics

PFS can be influenced by how our bodies function. Factors like posture, muscle imbalances, and leg alignment can pressure the kneecap and contribute to PFS. For instance, flat feet or weak quadriceps can disrupt forces on the knee, leading to patellofemoral pain.

Knee Overuse

Engaging in intense physical activities can also trigger PFS. Repetitive movements like running, jumping, or excessive knee bending can overload the kneecap and cause pain in the patellofemoral joint. If you are physically active or a running enthusiast, taking care of your knees is essential to avoid overstraining them.

Revealing Symptoms of Patellofemoral Syndrome

Pain Around or Behind the Kneecap

The primary symptom of PFS is pain, usually felt at the back or around the kneecap. The intensity can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain. Everyday movements like squatting or standing up can also be uncomfortable. Sometimes, cracking sounds may accompany knee flexion.

Unpleasant Noises

Some individuals may hear or feel cracking or rubbing sensations in the knee during movements. This phenomenon, known as crepitus, may not always be painful but should be considered. It can occur when the kneecap rubs against joint cartilage or surrounding soft tissues.

Diagnosis and Evaluation: Anticipating Patellofemoral Syndrome

Medical History and Physical Examination

To diagnose PFS, consult a healthcare professional and share your symptoms. Imaging studies may not always provide definitive results, so the healthcare provider primarily relies on your information. The knee’s clinical examination is crucial, assessing alignment, palpation, and movements, which often suffice for diagnosis.

Additional Tests

Complementary tests such as X-rays or an MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other possible causes of pain. Although patellofemoral syndrome may not always be visible in imaging, these tests can help assess other potential injuries, such as cruciate ligament or meniscus issues.

Treatment of Patellofemoral Syndrome: Rehabilitation and Rest

Treating patellofemoral syndrome involves a personalized rehabilitation program and rest to alleviate pain.

Physical Therapy to Strengthen Muscles

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in treating the patellofemoral syndrome. Specific exercises are recommended to strengthen the quadriceps, abductors, and external rotators, balancing the muscles around the knee. Consulting a kinesiologist for personalized and safe therapy is a great idea!

Cold or Heat Therapy for Pain and Inflammation Relief

Cold or heat therapy is another treatment option, where compresses can help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with this knee condition.

Knee Braces for Optimal Knee Support

Knee braces are designed to support the knee and improve alignment, reducing strain on the kneecap. For customized orthotics tailored to your needs, contact our team of orthotists at Laboratoire EVO! Attentive, responsive, and professional, we deliver a personalized solution to improve your comfort and quality of life.

Prevention and Long-Term Management of Patellofemoral Syndrome

Importance of Warm-Up and Stretching

Proper prevention of PFS begins with warming up before any physical activity. It prepares the muscles gently to reduce the risk of injury, with dynamic movements similar to those used in the sport being practiced.

Modification of Physical Activity

Adapting high-impact or repetitive activities, taking breaks during exercise, and adjusting the intensity based on your current capacity are essential. Proper footwear is also crucial to avoid stress on the joints. Recommended sports activities include swimming, cycling, walking, fitness (avoiding knee-stressing exercises), and “gentle” sports like aqua gym or yoga. However, high-impact activities like running, dancing, weightlifting, and mountain hiking are discouraged.

Regular Medical Follow-Up

Long-term management of PFS requires regular medical follow-up. Individuals should consult their healthcare professionals regularly for appropriate monitoring and potential treatment adjustments.

Use of Taping

Properly positioned around the kneecap, this adhesive band stabilizes the joint and limits its range of motion, reducing friction with the femur. The taping technique should be tailored to each patient based on any anatomical dysfunctions related to PFS. Consulting a kinesiologist or healthcare professional for proper taping positioning is recommended.

Patellofemoral Syndrome: Key Points to Remember

  • Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) is characterized by pain around or behind the kneecap during activities that stress the knee.
  • Causes may include poor body biomechanics and repetitive knee movements.
  • Diagnosis is based on clinical examination, sometimes supplemented by additional tests such as X-rays or MRI.
  • Treatments include rehabilitation, muscle strengthening exercises, wearing orthotics, and using hot or cold compresses.
  • To prevent and manage the syndrome long-term, it is essential to warm up properly, adjust high-impact activities, and wear appropriate footwear.

If you are experiencing patellofemoral syndrome and would like the advice of professional orthotists, schedule an appointment now with Laboratoire EVO!