Patellofemoral syndrome – Causes and Treatment

Patellofemoral syndrome is a condition of having pain in the front of the knee. The syndrome frequently occurs in athletes, teenagers and manual laborers. The symptom can sometimes be caused by softening, roughening and wearing down of the cartilage that is under the knee cap. Patellomafemoral is known to be one of the most causes of chronic knee pain and it results from the degeneration of cartilage which is caused by poor alignment of the kneecap as it slides over the lower part of the femur.

Causes of Patellofemoral syndrome –

The syndrome is believed to be caused by injury, excess weight, overuse, an improperly aligned kneecap, or any change that may occur under the kneecap. Patients with this syndrome often have an abnormal Patella tracking toward the outer side of the femur. This creates a slight pathway that causes a chronic inflammation and pain by allowing the patella under surface to grate along the femur. There are certain individual who are predisposed to developing the syndrome and they include females, flat footed runners, or those who have unusually shaped patella under surface.

Signs of Patellofemoral syndrome –

One of the main symptoms of the syndrome is knee pain especially when you are squatting, sitting with a bent knee, using the stairs especially when descending, and jumping. Occasionally you may also experience knee buckling, by having the knee giving way unexpectedly and not supporting your body weight. A sensation that is popping, catching or grinding is common when walking or having a knee movement. When the chronic symptoms are ignored there may be an associated loss of thigh muscle strength which may end up causing the leg to give out.

Patellofemoral syndrome Treatment –

Treating and rehabilitating the patellofemoral syndrome is creating a straight pathway to be followed by the patella during the contractions of quadriceps. The pain management initially involves avoiding any movement that will irritate the kneecap. Other helpful pain management includes icing and taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, naproxen among others.

By having an inner portion of the quadriceps muscles having selectively strengthened will help in normalizing the tracking of patella. For an effective and lasting rehabilitation of patellofemoral syndrome it’s critically effective to do the strengthening and stretching of the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups.

Prevention –

The syndrome can be prevented in the sense that only the symptoms that can be prevented. This is by avoiding any activity that is aggravating like running, jumping or positions among others. For long term prevention you will need to do the strengthening of the quadriceps muscles in order to help in normalizing the tracking of patella.This is normally done by contracting the thigh muscles while your legs are straight holding the contraction and counting up to ten. For the cardiovascular conditioning it can be maintained by stationary bicycling, swimming, or pool running. You should also change or review the training that may have led to patellofemoral syndrome pain and have the training shoes examined for proper and biochemical fit as this will help in avoiding the same cycle of having the syndrome.

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