Talking About Sports Injuries and Orthopedic Care Practices

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: Symptoms And Treatments

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is commonly seen in athletes. It can affect people of all ages and it is also called "runner's knee." While PFPS can develop in people who sit for long periods of time, it is most commonly associated with the jumping and running that is associated with sports activity. Because patellofemoral pain syndrome can mimic symptoms of other orthopedic conditions, it is important that you see a sports medicine physician for a physical examination. Here are some symptoms of PFPS and treatment options to consider.

PFPS Symptoms 

The hallmark symptom of PFPS is kneecap pain. The pain may be more likely to occur when you bend your knee, do squatting exercises, and go up and down the stairs. Rising from a sitting position after sitting for a long period of time may also cause knee pain. In addition, joint popping sounds may also be heard when you bend your knees. The popping sounds do not indicate the severity of the condition, instead, they are simply the result of air release from the knee joint. A grinding feeling when you bend your knee may also be experienced if you have PFPS. Some people experience morning stiffness when they wake up and knee swelling as a result of fluid buildup around the affected joint. 

PFPS Treatments

Patellofemoral pain syndrome typically responds well to conservative treatment options. These include wearing shoe orthotics and icing the affected area. Shoe orthotics help support your arches and help absorb the shock when you run or jump, which may help prevent inflammation and knee pain.

Shoe orthotics can be purchased at grocery stores and pharmacies, however, for a more precise fit, they can also be custom-made. Icing your knee will help decrease inflammation and dull your pain, however, you should never apply ice directly to your skin as this can cause tissue damage. Instead, wrap your knee joint in a soft cloth, then put ice into an ice bag, use a store-bought cold pack, or place a bag of frozen vegetables on the joint. Further, non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen will also help relieve the pain and swelling of PFPS. 

If you develop knee pain and inflammation, make an appointment with a sports medicine physician to determine if you have patellofemoral pain syndrome. Delaying treatment may further increase your pain, swelling, and limit your mobility. Once your PFPS has been treated, you can resume your sports activities symptom-free.