Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome

There are many terms used to describe pain at the front of the knee such as ‘anterior knee pain’, ‘jumper’s knee’, ‘runner’s knee’, ‘housemaid’s knee’, or its technical name - chondromalacia patellae. There are a number of specific causes of pain at the front of the knee and it is vital that, with careful examination, the correct diagnosis is made as this will of course affect the treatment plan. Often it is necessary to confirm or narrow down the diagnosis through more in depth investigations such as MRI or ultrasound scans.

There are a variety of symptoms associated with the condition, all caused by the kneecap being unstable or, ultimately, dislocated. You may notice a dull aching pain around the patella (kneecap), sometimes combined with a particularly sharp stabbing pain.  Certain activities often worsen symptoms – going up and down stairs, deep kneeling, squatting down, periods of inactivity sitting in a confined space such as in the cinema or a car.  Sufferers may also experience a feeling of instability and the impression that the kneecap is moving.

The majority of these conditions respond well to a wide range of physical therapies, from stretching to muscle retraining / tapin / strengthening. Sometimes, an injection of platelet rich plasma (a derivative of your own blood) is required and performed under ultrasound guidance by a specialist musculoskeletal radiologist. Surgery will be necessary for some patients, which is usually arthroscopic (key-hole), but occasionally open surgery is required in order to realign the structures at the front of your knee.

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