Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)


Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Front knee pain is a common symptom seen at MOTUS, and in many cases this comes from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). The condition can be caused by a number of things, but generally manifests as a pain coming from the patellofemoral joint. This is the joint where the thigh bone (femur) meets the knee cap (patella) at the front of the knee. Sometimes, PFPS is used broadly to describe pain that’s specifically at the front of the knee. However, problems with the patellofemoral joint can cause pain outside of the anterior knee, as well.

PFPS can be caused by overuse of the patellofemoral joint, so it’s thought to be more common in athletes that participate in sports with lots of running and jumping. However, it’s more common to find a number of different factors at play behind PFPS, so we see this condition in many different types of athletes at MOTUS.

One of the biggest reasons that an athlete might develop PFPS has to do with alignment. If the orientation of the joint is off, it can cause the patella to move to one side of the femur, which will overload that part of the femur. Alignment can be affected by overuse, or by biomechanical issues, but it’s also possible to be born with abnormal alignment.

When we meet a patient with symptoms of knee pain, we proceed with a careful and detailed diagnostic process. PFPS can often be mistaken for other knee conditions, like patellar tendonitis or a medial meniscus tear. It’s important to get the diagnosis right, because successful treatment depends on it. Once we’ve ruled out other pathologies with similar symptoms, we will need to collect a detailed history of the patient and perform an objective examination in order to determine the underlying causes of the PFPS.

At MOTUS, our philosophy is to always look at the entire body as a functional unit in order to understand the root of the problem. With PFPS, that is the best way to treat the issue. There can be a number of things leading to the condition, whether it’s muscle weakness, dysfunction, or a slight deviation in the patella. Once we understand your unique case, we can address the issue within your whole body. Coming back from PFPS is about strengthening the muscles that will allow you to support the patellofemoral joint moving forward.

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