The knee cap (patella) sits within the tendon of the quadriceps muscle, and is positioned within a groove on the lower end of the thigh bone (femur). With bending and straightening at the knee, the patella slides over the femur within the groove.
Patello-Femoral Syndrome occurs when the patella sits too far to the outside of the groove in the femur and causes pain. This mal-tracking can occur because of one or several things together including —
- flat or pronated feet
- weakness of knee stabilising muscles
- weakness of hip muscles
- after injury to other knee structures
- excessive joint ligament laxity
Management of Patello-Femoral Syndrome must address the various factors listed above and therefore will vary between patients. Physiotherapy may need to include strengthening for knee and hip muscles, provision of appropriate foot support, releasing of tight muscles, taping to help support the patella and potentially provision of a supportive brace.
In rare cases of chronic ongoing Patello-Femoral Syndrome, surgery and specific rehabilitative exercises may be required to enable return to normal sporting and physical activities. This rehabilitation will be guided by your physiotherapist and surgeon.
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