Patellofemoral pain (PFP) can be defined as pain around or behind the knee cap, or pain that is made worse by at least one activity involving a bent knee and body weight on the leg (eg., jumping, hopping, running, going up or down stairs, or squatting).
PFP makes up 25-40% of knee presentations and affects all ages and levels of activity.
What causes PFP?
In most cases, there is no specific mechanism of injury. PFP is multi-factorial and may be contributed to by one or more of the following:
A change in training load (such as a sudden increase or decrease in training intensity or frequency)
Surgery or previous trauma
Variations in bony anatomy – such as having a shallow groove where the knee cap sits, or a knee cap that sits slightly higher or wider than usual.
Muscle weakness, function and control (muscles of the trunk, hip and legs)
How can physio help me?
Firstly, it is crucial to have your knee pain accurately diagnosed by a professional. This will ensure you receive the correct advice and head down the best and most efficient management pathway.
Recent research has demonstrated that an active approach to primary care through education and exercise therapy is shown to be most beneficial for patients with PFP than a ‘wait and see’ approach.
Your physiotherapist can help you by:
Educating you on how to manage your symptoms, modifying your current physical activity and ensuring you have realistic expectations of recovery.
Developing an exercise program based on strengthening the muscles of your knee, hips and trunk.
Improving your biomechanics and your control of your lower limbs.
Manual therapy (massage, mobilisiations, dry needling).
A demonstration of a common taping technique for PFP.
It is important to understand that PFP is not a self-limiting injury. It will not disappear over time.
The best outcomes for PFP are found when patients address the issue early and progress back to physical activity in a graduated and safe manner.
Need help with knee pain? Book in with one of our physiotherapists today by calling 4356 2588 or online via the button below!
Thanks to Coast Sport physiotherapist Corrine for preparing this blog post! Find out more about Corrine here.