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Things You Must Know About Patellofemoral Pain And Instability!

Written and reviewed by
MS - Orthopaedics, Fellowship in Sports injuries, Shoulder & Knee arthroscopy, Fellowship in Paediatric Orthopaedics
Orthopedic Doctor, Delhi  •  8 years experience
Things You Must Know About Patellofemoral Pain And Instability!

Also referred to as runner’s knee, Patellofemoral pain commonly affects individuals who take part in sports involving jumping and running. Patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to acute pain and discomfort in the front part of the knee. The knee pain is often worse when a person is running, walking down the stairs, or sitting for a long span of time. The syndrome leads to a dull and aching pain in the front part of the knee which often gets worse with time if left untreated.

Causes of Patellofemoral Pain:
There is no certainty as to what causes patellofemoral pain and instability. Some of the most common causes include:

1. Overuse:
Jumping and running exert pressure repetitively on the knee joint which may lead to irritation under the kneecap.

2. Muscle weakness and imbalance:
Patellofemoral pain may occur when the muscles around the hip, as well as the knee, don’t allow the kneecap to be properly aligned. Also, the inward movement of the knee during a squat has been associated with this type of pain.

3. Injury:
If the kneecap has undergone any injury which may include a fracture or a dislocation, it may lead to patellofemoral pain.

4. Surgery:
If you have undergone a knee surgery, particularly relating to the anterior cruciate ligament using one’s own patellar tendon as a graft, it increases the risk of patellofemoral pain.

5. Associated problems with patellofemoral pain:
When patellofemoral pain affects a person, they are likely to suffer from other associated problems which are mentioned below:

6. Lateral patellar compression syndrome:
Chronic knee pain in the front part of the leg is often related to overload and an increase in pressure on the lateral zones of the knee. It leads to an excessive lateral tilt with reduced mobility along with miserable triad. Normally it causes acute discomfort while walking up or down the stairs.

7. Recurrent dislocation patella:
This problem is not quite common, but it can be congenital or developmental. Some of the most common causes of this disorder include ligaments laxity, lateral soft tissue contracture, and muscular imbalance. The common symptoms of recurrent dislocation patella include swelling and intense pain.

8. Patellofemoral arthritis:
Patellofemoral arthritis affects the underside of the kneecap and the groove where the patella rests in. It leads to unbearable pain in the anterior part of the knee making it difficult to kneel down or climb any stairs, or even squat. It occurs when the articular cartilage along the trochlear groove wears down and become swelled and inflamed.

For most people, the treatments of patellofemoral pain are successful in dealing with the symptoms without needing to undergo surgery. You must consider the opinion of a doctor who can help in overcoming these issues to a considerable extent. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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