Patellofemoral refers to the knee cap and the surface of the bone of the thigh (femur) upon which it moves. The patella sits in a groove which it can slide in with the assistance of lubrication secreted from the cartilage on the bones. Pain in the area or around the patella (knee cap) might indicate that the normal movement of the knee cap has been disrupted. This may lead to irritation of the cartilage and other soft tissues in the area, resulting in pain, swelling and discomfort.
Discomfort from this problem will be most noticeable in positions that require increased knee bend and forces on the knee cap such as;
- Walking down hills
Depending on the cause of the patellofemoral pain will determine the correct treatment. Some causes include;
- Incorrect foot positions
- Imbalances in the thigh muscles
- Weakness in the pelvis
- Calf and ankle insufficiencies
- Technique problems with running or exercises
- History of high loads to the knee
Long term pain in the knee can result in degeneration of the healthy cartilage tissues of the knee, causing irreversible damage. It is recommended that pain in the knee be tended to immediately to avoid these changes, and of course to continue with normal activity comfortably.
Similarly, Chondromalacia Patella is a condition common in the adolescent or young adult. Softening of the cartilage behind the patella is responsible for pain and clicking or grinding with activities such as standing from sitting, running, jumping and stairs. The problem may also be due to imbalances in the knee muscles, foot positioning and repetitive knee loading activities.