The above link is a nicely written article in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy. This article is referring to a kind of knee pain generally called anterior (front of knee) knee pain or more specifically patellofemoral pain syndrome. The term patellofemoral pain refers to pain that is from the kneecap (patella) and your upper leg bone (femur).
The article highlights some alarming statistics about the frequency of knee pain. What I like so much about this article is that it talks about some of the potential reasons why your knee may be painful. In our clinic I see a connection between tightness/weakness and knee pain. The other aspect that can not be over emphasized is movement quality. There are certain movement patterns that will irritate the front of your knee. If you tend to let your knee fall in or bring your knees too far forward your knees will likely get irritated.
Things to remember about anterior knee pain.
1: Don’t let your knee come past your toes when squatting. When you squat look down and check if your knees are in front of your foot. A simple cue is to remember to keep the weight on your heels.
2: Do not let you knee fall in when performing exercises. Letting your knees fall into a “knocked knee” position causes the kneecap to track poorly and can cause problems with the inside portion of the knee.
3: Get strong and stay strong. Are you able to go from sitting to standing from a tall chair using just 1 leg? Is it easier on 1 side? If so you likely have a strength issue. The kneecap in particular relies on your muscles to ensure that it tracks correctly.
4: Stay Flexible. Your flexibility in your the front of your thigh as well as your calf will affect the way your knee moves. If your muscles are so tight that your knee is moving incorrectly then you will likely develop pain in the joint.
This type of pain is a pain that tends to linger. However, there are things that we can do manage knee pain. By addressing strength, flexibility and movement patterns you can drastically decrease your pain and limitations. Additionally you have options for when knee is sharply painful. Often manual therapy, gentle motion and modalities can be very relieving and get you out of the acute stage.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to live with your knee pain. There are things that you can do either on your own or with the help of a physical therapist. At Siskiyou Physical Therapy we regularly treat patient with all types of knee pain. Our patients love the pain relief that they experience and their improved function. If you are interested in decreasing your knee pain feel free to contact us.
Jon Hill, DPT, Licensed Physical Therapist with Siskiyou Physical Therapy
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