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Why is there pain in my kneecap? What is patellofemoral syndrome?

Why is there pain in my kneecap? What is patellofemoral syndrome?

Why is there pain in my kneecap? What is patellofemoral syndrome?

Patellofemoral syndrome is a general term for pain in the front of the knee or behind/around your kneecap (patella). Specifically, it is a result of stress and pressure between the kneecap and thigh bone. Therefore, inflammation and pain can occur here. Importantly, patellofemoral syndrome is also known as runner’s knee. This is due to it’s frequency in runners and sportsmen.

This blog with provide information on:

  • Relevant anatomy

  • Activities that often cause it

  • Signs and symptoms

  • Relevant treatment approaches

What is the anatomy of the knee?

knee anatomy kneecap pain patellofemoral syndrome

The femur (thigh bone) rests on top of the tibia (shin bone). In front of the thigh bone rest the patella (kneecap). The quadriceps muscles run down the front of the thigh and attach in to the kneecap. Importantly, this holds it in place from above. Furthermore, a tendon attaches from the bottom of the kneecap and links to the top of the tibia below. This holds it in place from below.

What causes patellofemoral syndrome?

Patellofemoral syndrome may develop for a variety of reasons. Some examples include:

  • Playing sports

  • Being a woman

  • Overuse of the knee

  • As sudden change of how the knee is used. E.g. changing sport activities or practice session length

  • Structural problems between the kneecap and thigh bone

  • Previous trauma to the knee

What are the signs and symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome?

  • A dull aching pain in the front of the knee, around or behind the kneecap

  • Pain worsening gradually with sports

  • Exacerbation of the pain with activities involving bending the knee. Such as going downstairs or doing squats

  • Pain when sitting with knees bent for a prolonged period of time. Such as sitting at the cinema

  • Cracking or crunching sounds around the kneecap when bending or straightening the knee

What can help patellofemoral syndrome?

  • Prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises from a trained professional

  • External alignment taping of the knee

  • A reduction to the exacerbating activity

  • Applying a cold press to the kneecap through a towel for an advised amount of time

  • Medication to reduce the amount of inflammation

A thank you note.

Finally, Pinnacle Posture thanks you for reading this blog post. We hope you liked it. Importantly, please share it via social media and direct it to those that it may help. After all, a reduction in pain, a chance to continue in a sport or even an eased concern can change someone’s world.

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