Knee Pain – Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome in Athletes by IAMT Course Attendee

by John Paszkiewicz, PT, MS, COMT

Of the seven most common sports injuries the knee is associated with two of them – ACL Tears and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). This month we will focus on PFPS.


What are the common symptoms of PFPS syndrome?

Usually this condition presents as pain on either side of the patella (kneecap) or on the front of the knee.  It is often described as a deep ache or a sharp pain.  In more advanced cases, symptoms of “grinding” or “popping” of the kneecap may also be present. It is often worse when performing repetitive sporting activities such as running, landing after a jump, and quick starts and stops. During normal daily activities it is limiting when going up or down stairs, squatting, sitting for prolonged times or after getting up from sitting for an extended period.


What are the causes of PFPS syndrome?

This is a complex condition with a variety of contributing factors. The knee is caught in the middle of two relatively complex areas-the hip and the foot.  Most commonly it is caused by poor tracking of the kneecap on the femur-the long bone of the thigh. This may be due to imbalance in the thigh muscles, poor foot biomechanics, or weakness of the gluteal muscles at the hip all causing abnormal movement of the knee and kneecap, placing abnormal stress on the knee.


What treatments are available for PFPS syndrome?

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