What is patellofemoral pain?

Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is pain at the front of your knee, this is an umbrella term that includes pain around, behind, above and below the kneecap. Of course there are many different reasons why you would have pain at the front of your knee but this blog will focus on patellofemoral pain and how to treat it.

How do I know if it’s patellofemoral knee pain?

With PFP you will most likely have:

  • Pain walking or running
  • Pain going up and down stairs
  • Pain squatting or kneeling
  • Possibly pain first thing in the morning or getting up after sitting for a while
  • Pain pressing on the front of your knee near the kneecap

What can cause it?

You may start to get pain at the front of your knee if:

  • you change the amount of exercise you’re doing (increasing from exercising once a week to 5 times a week)
  • you change the type or intensity of exercise you’re doing (eg change from walking to running)
  • you start doing a new exercise (eg lifting weights or a new bootcamp class)
  • you have weakness or another injury on that leg or the other leg
  • the movement at your hip causes increased stress on your knee (we may need to adjust the way you move)

How do I stop the pain?

Here are some tips you can try to help reduce pain at the front of your knee:

  • Ice the knee when it gets sore ( especially in the acute stage when pain first starts)
  • Reduce your exercise to help pain settle, try leaving a rest day between bouts of exercise
  • Don’t exercise through pain, listen to your body!

Are there any movements or exercises I should avoid?

  • Squats and lunges may initially be sore and can aggravate pain early on. 
  • We start hip and knee strengthening in a way that the knee can tolerate and that doesn’t cause pain. 
  • These will help strengthen the leg without making the knee sore. We will gradually work towards squats and lunges as these are movements that are needed for everyday life!

Here are some interesting figures about how much work your knee does during different activities:

When you:

  • walk upstairs your knee joint carries 2.8 times your body weight
  • walk downstairs your knee joint carries 3.2 times your bodyweight
  • run your knee joint carries roughly 5.2 times your bodyweight (depending on your speed)
  • squat your knee joint carries 1-18 times your bodyweight!
  • jump your knee joint carries 9-17 times your body weight!
  • cycle your knee joint carries 1-7 times your bodyweight

What’s the best treatment?

Physiotherapy is a very effective treatment for patellofemoral knee pain. Rest alone may not get rid of your knee pain. 

With the help of one of our Chartered Physiotherapists we can reduce your pain, make a treatment plan and guide you to get back to doing what you want to do. 

Each person that comes to us with knee pain will have different goals, some people just want to be able to go up and down stairs without pain, some people want to get back to hill walking and some will want to get back to playing sport without pain.

Our Chartered Physiotherapists will prioritise your goals and your needs and make an individualised plan to help you get back to what you want to do.

To make an appointment with Mary-Alice, John or Catherine in Ashford or Rathnew: 

Call 0404 49781

Email eastcoastphysio@gmail.com

Book online using this link https://eastcoastphysio.ie/booking/

Thanks for reading 🙂