Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome is a softening of the patella (cartilage under the kneecap) that results in small areas of breakdown and pain around the knee. Rather than sliding easily above the knee, the knee cap rubs adjacent to the femur (the thigh bone) when the knee moves. The changes can vary from mild to complete corrosion of the cartilage. Chondromalacia patella, in technical terms, is the most usual cause of chronic knee pain. This syndrome usually occurs in female teenagers because the knee is subjected to extreme and unequal pressure due to their rapid growth and adults over 40 as part of the wear-and-tear process that in time leads to osteoarthritis.

You’ll know that you have this condition if you feel a mild discomfort in the inner knee area, like a vague sense of ‘tightness’ or ‘fullness’. Sometimes, if chronic indications are disregarded, the associated loss of thigh (quadriceps) muscle strength may have the leg to give out. In addition, an obvious lessening in quadriceps muscle mass and mild inflammation of the knee area may appear.

Treatment for patellofemoral syndrome involves improving the alignment of the patella during contraction of the thigh muscle. To minimise the pain, avoid activities that will irritate the kneecap, like jumping, running, going down the stairs, climbing, or prolonged sitting with knees in a bent position. Using ice and anti-inflammatory medications (such as Naproxen [Aleve] or Ibuprofen [Advil/Motrin]) could help. Cardiovascular conditioning may be maintained by pool running, stationary bicycling, or swimming (flutter kick).