Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)

Dr. Lambros Lambrou Feb 22, 2016

Knee pain is a common complaint which can limit many activities of daily living such as standing up from a chair, going up and down stairs, or simply walking. There are multiple different types of knee pain which can be treated by a physical therapist. The one I would like to discuss today is called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS or Runner's Knee).

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The patella is also known as the “kneecap” and is a bone that sits on top of the bones that make up your knee joint, specifically your femur. PFPS is commonly characterized by pain surrounding the kneecap and is usually due to overuse and wear of the cartilage under the kneecap.

A few causes of PFPS include:

  • Muscle imbalance amongst the muscles in the lower leg, including the hip muscles, hamstrings, quads and calf muscles. This can include both weakness and tightness which causes increased stress to the knee joint.
  • Abnormal knee mechanics, including squatting improperly without the hips, knees and ankles in alignment.
  • Flat feet causes the foot to roll inward which causes the knee to compensate for this abnormal alignment and can cause increased knee stress.

Physical therapy is a recommended treatment for PFPS, the use of  iwalk crutches but also a simple at home treatment to try is the use of an ice pack. Application of an ice pack to your knee for no longer than 20 minutes can help to decrease local irritation to the knee joint and reduce pain.

Stay tuned for more information regarding Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and for exercises commonly used to treat this disorder.