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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
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- Malalignment of the knee joint caused by:
- Rolling your feet outward during walking or running—can pull the kneecap out of line and cause painful rubbing of the kneecap against the bones of the knee.
- The kneecap being located too high or too low in the knee joint.
- Loose ligaments
- Poorly aligned bones
- Weak or tight thigh muscles causing:
- Inability to hold the kneecap in the correct position.
- The kneecap to rub against the femur during movement.
- Overuse and overloading the knee joint from:
- High-impact sports or activities, such as running that result in ponding on the feet.
- Knock knees
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Hip dysfunction
- External rotation of the lower leg
- Trauma, such as an automobile accident where the kneecap hits the dashboard
- Swelling of the knee
- Popping or grinding sounds in the knee joint during activity
- A snapping sensation in the knee
Exercise and Physical Therapy
- Proper warming up before exercising. This includes stretching after warm-up and post-activity. This will help to prevent sports-related injuries.
- Vary the types of activities that you participate in. For example, rather than running or jogging every day, alternate between running and swimming.
- Use appropriate footware for your sport.
- Increase the amount and effort of activities slowly over time.
- Use proper form and technique for any sport.
- Take care of injuries right away. This includes getting first aid and resting the injury until it is healed before beginning an activity again.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition http://www.fitness.gov
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Juhn MS. Patellofemoral pain syndrome: a review and guidelines for treatment. Am Fam Physician. 1999; (60)7: 2012-2022.
Labella C. Patellofemoral pain syndrome: evaluation and treatment. Prim Care Clin Office Pract. 2004; 31: 977-1003.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Nov 1;60(7):2019-2022. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/991101ap/991101b.html. Accessed May 3, 2013.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 27, 2012. Accessed February 18, 2014.
1/24/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Fukuda TY, Rossetto FM, Magalhães E, Bryk FF, Lucareli PR, de Almeida Aparecida Carvalho N. Short-term effects of hip abductors and lateral rotators strengthening in females with patellofemoral pain syndrome: a randomized controlled clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(11):736-742.
- Reviewer: Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 04/29/2014