Patelofemoral pain

Patellofemoral pain is an umbrella term given to anterior knee pain.

The cause of this pain can be from the different structures around the patellar (knee cap).

Factors that contribute to pain

Patellofemoral pain can start when the athlete has changed their training routine. It can be broken up into internal and external factors. The external factors are the type of surfaces and footwear the athlete is using which can influence the type of load from the ground. Other external factors such as a higher training volume, increases in speed of running, hill/stair running can also overload the patellofemoral joint structure. Internal risk factors such as rotation of the femur (big thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone), knock knees and muscle tightness and a pronated foot type (flat feet).

How is it treated?

This is usually in conjunction with other health professionals to sufficiently address the internal and external risk factors present. Initially to address the pain, resting from the aggravating activity is recommended. Icing and a short course of panadol is useful. Taping the patellar can provide immediate pain relief.  For muscle imbalances it is important to retrain and improve general muscle strength. The use of custom or prefabricated foot orthotics can assist with increased foot pronation, which theoretically improves biomechanics by reducing stress on the patellar joint.  Physical therapy such as patellar mobilization, dry needling and low-level laser therapy may be a useful adjunct to the treatment plan.