Anterior knee pain is a common condition affecting the area between the knee-cap (patella) and thigh bone (femur) causing a condition known as ‘Patello-Femoral Joint Syndrome’. The condition may also be known as ‘Chrondromalacia Patellae’. Held in position by the quadriceps and patella tendons, the patella glides up and down over a groove on the front aspect of the femur allowing smooth movement to take place when the knee bends and straightens. Inflammation in this region may exhibit pain and other associated symptoms around the front of the knee.
Causes: The common knee problem may be attributed to muscle weakness or imbalance of the quadriceps muscle group or may be the consequence of tight muscles or other soft tissues in the region around the patella. Various factors may lead to abnormal tracking of the patella as it glides over the front of the femur and consequently may cause symptoms. Biomechanical implications and incorrect footwear may also be the cause of the condition or aggravate the problem once the joint becomes inflamed.
Symptoms & Diagnosis: Symptoms associated with the problem include pain and swelling around the patella. The pain may be a general dull ache or sharp pain depending on the nature and irritability of the condition. Clicking, locking, giving way (instability) and crepitus may also be reported. The problem is common in a growing child, as a teenager and throughout adulthood. The symptoms are often brought on by hill walking, climbing stairs, running, cycling and other sports involving repetitive knee bending actions. The pain may also be exacerbated by driving and sitting down for prolonged periods. Other leisure activities that involve repetitive knee bending and weight bearing with load can also irritate the problem.
Management: A correct diagnosis by a skilled physiotherapist will allow for an effective treatment plan to alleviate the pain and inflammation around the joint. A detailed rehabilitation programme in conjunction with the correct advice will assist in the full recovery of the problem. A biomechanical assessment may be indicated to investigate the problem further and assist with the prognosis. If left untreated, the problem may lead to early knee joint degeneration.
Please feel free to contact the Manchester G4 Clinic to speak to a member of the team for any questions that you may have.