Do you experience knee pain going up or down stairs or hills?
Does your knee ache if stuck in a bent position for too long, like when driving?
Do your knees stop you enjoying special moments — like playing with your children or grandchildren?
If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, there is a good chance you have patellofemoral pain. Read on to find out more . . .
What is Patellofemoral Pain?
Patellofemoral pain is pain arising from the knee cap (patella) or the supporting tissues around the knee cap. It is one of the top 3 causes of knee pain we see in our practice and occurs when the patella is not moving or working correctly. Sometimes there may be some early arthritis of the patella and often there is swelling or fluid in the front of the knee. If you have a weak hip, poor gait pattern or a particular foot shape, this makes things worse.
How do I know if I have Patellofemoral Pain?
A diagnosis of patellofemoral pain is made based on your history, the location of your symptoms, and pain that is reproduced with certain physical tests and not others. An x-ray is not necessary to make a diagnosis.
What Can I do to Help Myself?
As mentioned above, often patients with patellofemoral pain have extra fluid in the front of the knee. This stops your leg muscles working properly. Get rid of the fluid and we can start training your leg muscles, which is an important step to getting rid of your pain. Use Lektric Soda or Bexter’s Crystals in a stocking and wrap around the front of your knee overnight. Over 1-2 nights any excess fluid will be “drawn” out of the knee and often patients say their knee moves and feels better. If you need some Bexter’s Crystals, give Mary or Racquel a call on 6056 6616 and we can help you out.
Can Physio Help?
Patellofemoral Pain is very treatable and the majority of patients are able to get rid of their pain and return to their normal activities. There are 6 key areas to focus on in treating patellofemoral pain including strengthening the hip and knee muscles and examining the foot to see if it is contributing to your problem. Remember your exercises must be matched not only to your problem but also your stage of recovery and your functional goals. DON’T just google “exercises for patellofemoral pain” – you can waste a lot of time and effort doing something that isn’t right for you!
What Should I do Next?
If you are struggling with knee pain and you identify with the symptoms and problems described above, there are 3 things you can do:
1. Nothing … Not recommended! As with most things in life, if we have a problem and do nothing, the best we can hope for is more of the same. In reality, when we are dealing with the human body, things worsen over time if we ignore them.
2. Book an appointment to see one of our physio’s to see if we CAN help you. If we believe we can help you, we will outline a plan of treatment and see if you want to go through with it.
3. If you’re unsure about whether we can help, call Mary and register for a phone call with one of our physio’s — we will call you back when we have some free time and have a quick chat to you over the phone about what is going on for you and then tell you what the next step should be for you.
To Your Better Health,
The Team at Personal Best