Patello-femoral pain is pain related to the knee cap at the front of the knee. It is unfortunately a complaint that we often see at Physiologix. It can occur in all age groups from kids to teenagers, to adults both young and old. Often pain is aggravated by activities such as walking, running, squatting, stairs and prolonged siting. A recent review has tied together the best evidence from only very good quality studies as well as from some of the worlds leading clinicians in this area. Several definite themes came through for successful treatment for what can be a difficult condition to treat.
The number one thing is as a patient your treatment must be active not passive. You have a big role in doing exercises if you want a chance of success. Number two: treatment has to be multifactorial, that is, a combination of approaches need to be put together for best chance of success. Number three: stop aggravating the pain – understand what is making the pain worse, change it so you actually give the area a chance to heal.
So what exercises are best?
- Strengthening the quadriceps muscles, in particular the VMO (vastus medialis oblique) which is on the inside of the quadriceps (front of thigh) muscle, will help to support the knee cap. The knee cap sits in a little groove and tends to drift to the outside of this groove. Working the VMO pulls the knee cap snuggly back where it belongs.
- Strengthening the hip muscles, especially the buttocks helps to control how the leg moves, allowing better alignment of the knee, thus reducing altered stresses through the knee cap.
- Correcting foot posture, short term with orthotics and possibly long term with foot arch- lift exercise, helps to reduce pain.
- Stretching of the muscles at the back of the leg helps.
- It is essential that your ankle and big toe bend well to allow easy movement forward – if not, then you have to twist and turn the leg to get around these stiff area, often putting adverse stress on the knee.
Other options that can help are taping the knee cap – everyone is different regards what taping technique is best and your physio can help you figure out the best tape method for you. There are many different ways, with many different types of tape to try and at Physiologix, our physios have such extensive experience, thus many, many ideas to try. A knee brace has also been shown to be helpful.
At Physiologix, our staff are continuously staying up to date with the latest research, bringing you the very best in treatment. Indeed they are also involved in several research studies, being on the cutting edge of what is new. To book an appointment, call us on (07) 3511 1112 or email us from our website physiologix.com.au.