Knee injuries or pain are the most common complaint by sports participants. Studies have shown that patellofemoral pain syndrome comprises up to 50% of all overuse injuries. The syndrome is caused by an irritation of the under-surface of the patella (knee cap) or in the tissues surrounding the knee.
The pain is usually a dull pain that seems to come from the deep knee. It is worst with deep knee bend-type sports or activities. Usually there is pain climbing stairs and after sitting for a prolonged period of time.
The patella is a moving part that glides up and down a groove in the femur (thigh bone) as you bend and straighten your knee. The pain is caused by compression of the patella and the femur which increases as you bend your knee.
Basically, the irritation of the patella causes an inflammation which causes the pain.
- Mal-tracking when the patella is not symmetrical in the femoral groove it is said to be mal-tracking which causes increased compression between the patella and the femur. Mal-tracking is most common in the people who have wide hips, knock knees, or tibial torsion (rotation of the lower leg).
- Flat, pronated feet, especially with poor footwear.
- Overuse syndrome.
- Pelvic or spinal misalignment.
- Weak inner thigh muscles.
- Tight outer knee structures.
- Muscle inflexibilities.
- Previous or repetitive trauma to the knee.
This is based on two principles:
- Reducing the inflammation and irritation and stimulating normal tissue growth .
- Improving the dynamics of the patellofemoral relationship.
Initially, when the knee is painful and/or swollen you must rest it. Pain should be your guide. Mild discomfort is OK but working through pain will aggravate your condition.
Ice, Ice, Ice and Heat
Ice your knee for 15 – 20 minutes twice a day or any time after it is irritated. This is your best friend. Use frozen peas, crushed ice, or a gel pack(available at our front desk). Heat on the muscle belly (ie. mid thigh) can help relax tense muscles.
- Adjustments of the spine, pelvis, knee and feet to correct misalignments and restore motion.
- Soft tissue therapy (particularly ART/Active Release and or Graston Technique) to loosen tight muscles/adhesions on the outer knee and restore normal tone to the inner knee tissues.
- Electotherapy & ultrasound to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Taping or braces may be used to help align the patella properly.
- Foot orthotics may be prescribed at our clinic to ensure correct foot position.
- Nutritional advice and natural anti-inflammatories may be recommended.
- Progressive strengthening and flexibility exercises will be provided.