Wellness Embodied Blog

Do you know what patellofemoral pain (PFP) is?

It is a common condition, and studies have suggested that 25% of people suffer from PFP at some
point in their lives, and 2.5 million runners experience PFP in a year.

PFP is usually caused by malalignment of the knee-cap and the distal end of the thigh bone, which
the knee cap glides on to when we move our legs. It is similar to a train on its track. The knee-cap is
the train and the femur (thigh bone) is the track. If they are not aligned properly, the soft tissue
underneath the knee-cap will get injured and cause pain due to uneven loading.

People suffering from PFP will often experience pain in the area just outside the knee-cap and on
top. They usually experience the pain when they are running, squatting, climbing stairs, or walking
up/down hills, and usually have no pain with standing.

What are the contributing factors of Patellofemoral pain (PFP)?

PFP is usually caused by either the knee-cap mal-tracking, or the thigh
bone not aligned properly with the knee cap, or both. There are multiple factors that can cause
the malalignment.

Firstly, weakness on the glute and quad muscles, could contribute to it, because sufficient glutes and
quads strength is essential for us to have a good hip and knee control. Without good control, we
would have a higher risk of developing PFP.

Secondly, we can also have an inwardly orientated thigh bone, which is a variation of normal
development. With an inwardly orientated thigh bone, the knee-cap may not be gliding properly
onto the distal end of the thigh bone, and irritating the soft tissue and cause pain.

There are other risk factors for PFP such as gender, regular participation of certain sports etc. If you
are experiencing knee pain, the experienced physiotherapists at Wellness Embodied will be able to
perform a detailed assessments to look at and address the causes of your knee pain.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy is effective in treating Patellofemoral pain (PFP). Treatment would generally involve
manual therapy of the knee-cap, exercises and taping.

A taping technique called McConnell taping may be used. It uses rigid tape to correct the position of
the knee cap, and it is generally quite effective to relieve the patients’ symptoms.

Manual therapy would also be used to reduce pain and improve movement of the knee and the
knee-cap, which, in turn, would help your legs to move better.

Strengthening exercises are also essential, as ultimately, we would need to have good control of our
hips and knees. Physiotherapists would look at the whole kinetic chain of the patient’s leg, and
address the muscle imbalance that he has. For example, exercises such as clams may be used to
improve control and strength of glutes.

Here is a Youtube video of our physiotherapist Frank talking in greater detail about Patellofemoral Pain. If you are experiencing Knee pain and would like a physiotherapy assessment, call our friendly Cairns clinic staff on 42319777 or visit our online booking page here.

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