Patellofemoral Pain

Your exam shows your knee pain is probably due to a problem with the knee cap, the patella. This problem is also called patellofemoral pain, runner's knee, or chondromalacia. Most of the time, this problem is due to overuse of the knee joint. Repeated bending and straightening can irritate the underside of the knee cap. When this happens, activities such as running, walking, climbing, biking or jumping usually produce pain. Pain may also occur after prolonged sitting. Other patellofemoral symptoms can include joint stiffness, swelling, and a snapping or grinding sensation with movement. Rest and rehabilitation are usually successful in treating this problem. Surgery is rarely needed.

Treatment includes correcting any mechanical factors that could hurt the normal working of the knee. This could be weak thigh muscles or foot problems. Avoid repetitive activities of the knee until the pain and other symptoms improve. Apply ice packs over the knee for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 to 4 hours to reduce pain and swelling. Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Knee braces or neoprene sleeves may help reduce irritation. Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the quad muscle are often prescribed when your symptoms are better. Call your caregiver for a follow-up exam to evaluate your response to treatment.