Physical Therapy for Patellofemoral Syndrome
Layne Physical Therapy, Golden, Colorado
If you’re a runner, you may know all too well the pain that comes with patellofemoral syndrome. Our staff at Layne Physical Therapy in Golden can help by providing you with one-on-one physical therapy for patellofemoral syndrome that will help you get back up to speed.
One of the most common causes of knee pain runners, patellofemoral syndrome causes sharp or dull pain under and around the kneecap. A grinding or clicking in the knee may also be felt. Women of all ages and activity levels are also susceptible due to poor tracking of the kneecap.
Patellofemoral syndrome pain is caused by tissue overload. This can be due to overuse, an underlying leg alignment issue or training errors. If you’re a runner, excessive distance, hill work or stairs running can lead to patellofemoral syndrome. Your symptoms can then be worsened simply by walking downhill or down a flight stairs. Prolonged sitting and squatting movements can also have a negative effect.
Patellofemoral Syndrome & Your Knee Cap
If you suspect an issue, a physician or physical therapist can look further into the biomechanics of your knee cap. Attached by a tendon to the lower leg (tibia), your kneecap is often called a “floating bone” and should rest in the center of a groove in your thigh bone (femur). It slides up and down this groove when you bend or straighten your knee, transferring power from your quadriceps to the lower leg.
With the lateral displacement of your knee cap, the restraining tissue on the outside of the kneecap (lateral retinaculum) may be tight and your vastus medialis (your quad muscle that pulls the kneecap inward) can be weak. Together, this causes your knee cap to float outside of its usual groove, creating painful irritation that can eventually lead to the smooth underside of your kneecap becoming rough. Common factors in patellofemoral syndrome:
- Tight soft tissues on the outside of the knee
- Weak and uncoordinated vastus medialis
- Weak hip musculature
- Lack of flexibility – tight iliotibial band (ITB), calf, hamstrings or vastus lateralis muscles
- Over-pronation of the feet