Patellofemoral joint (PFJ) pain is one of the most common knee complaints in runners and the highest presenting knee pathology to physiotherapists. Patients may commonly describe pain at the front of the knee aggravated by stairs and weight bearing or jarring activities that involve knee bending.
PFJ pain is commonly caused by poor kneecap alignment – where the kneecap does not glide freely through the femoral groove. This causes joint irritation and sometimes degeneration behind the kneecap as the kneecap rubs against the femur.
The malalignment or maltracking of the patella as we bend the knee is caused by a number of factors, the most common causes being a muscle imbalance and poor biomechanics.
Below is a breakdown of the contributing risk factors.
Common sports where PFJ pain is typically seen includes those with excessive running, jumping and squatting such as long distance running, netball, football, tennis, volleyball, basketball and skiing.
Untreated PFJ pain can result in patella tendonitis or other biomechanical related injures of the lower limb. Physiotherapy treatment to enable a patient to return to their chosen sport may involve:
(Crossley., Collins., Beller., 2008)., (Brukner & Khan., 2005)., (McConnell., 2000)
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