Kneecap pain (patellafemoral pain)
Typical symptoms: Varying levels of discomfort and tenderness surrounding or behind the kneecap. This pain will be typically exacerbated by uneven terrain or by motions such as squatting.
Your kneecap (or patella) moves with your thighbone (or femur) while you walk or run. This creates constant friction and stress that can serve to irritate the patella and its surrounding anatomy. Some of this friction also occurs because the patella serves as a pulley for one of the largest and most powerful of muscle groups in the body, the thigh muscle (or quadriceps).
Pinpointing a single reason for this condition can be difficult. Various issues are important to consider. These include patella alignment, condition of the cartilage in the knee joint (this affects shock absorption) and the arches of your feet. Muscle tension, such as tight hamstrings and calf muscles, can also cause pressure on the knee. Weak thigh muscles can also affect tracking of the patella (the patella runs along a groove as you move your leg).
Key to prevention and treatment is immediately reducing workload, having your footwear checked so that it is appropriate for your foot type. Gait is also important (a thorough gait analysis may be necessary) and a visit to our podiatrist can determine whether orthotics may be necessary to help control an excessive foot movement.
In some instances resolution may be quick after cessation of activity, but in general, with an exercise programme, it may take 4-6 weeks.