Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), or Runner’s Knee, got it’s nickname for an obvious and very unfortunate reason – it’s very common among runners! It is one of the most common conditions which presents to Waterford Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic and seems to affect exercisers across a broad spectrum – from recreational walkers and joggers to elite marathon runners. Put simply, Runner’s Knee is a tracking problem of the kneecap on the thigh bone.
Runner’s Knee can affect one or both knees and is more prominent in females. The onset can be gradual or sudden and it generally appears without any trauma to the knee. Patients often describe a pressure type pain behind or around the kneecap, the location which is often difficult to pinpoint. Sufferers of Runner’s Knee also often describe an associated clicking or cracking of their kneecap. Symptoms are generally aggravated with squatting, coming downstairs or hills and after prolonged walking/running.
The key to the successful management of Runner’s Knee is identifying and addressing the individual risk factors for each patient. For most people it cannot be massaged better – the causes for the condition generally tend to be multi-factorial and each factor must addressed to ensure long-term resolution of symptoms. The most common causes are:
– Tight calves, hamstrings and in particular quadriceps can be provoke Runner’s Knee pain
– Weak quadriceps combined with poor control around the pelvis are major contributors to Runner’s Knee pain
– Altered biomechanics at your feet can have a knock-on effect further up at your knee
– Changes in training programmes and training surfaces can increase the demand on muscles which control the knee joint when running
It is very rare for a patient with Runner’s Knee to require any form of surgery and most orthopaedic consultants will refer patients for physiotherapy. Assessment by a Chartered Physiotherapist can accurately diagnose Runner’s Knee and it’s causes. Treatment may consist of manual therapy, electrotherapy, massage, dry needling, prescription with orthotics and prescription with a rehabilitation programme individualized for your particular needs.