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Ask the Docs | Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Ask the Docs
Posted December 5, 2007

  • AthletiCo Bulls' Injury Report

    Patient Question:
    I have been experiencing pain in my knee and around my kneecap after I play basketball. I also feel this pain during my workday as I sit at my desk. What is causing this? Should I continue to workout or should I taper my activity?

    Dr. Jeffery Mjaanes:
    The injury you described sounds like it could be Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). This condition is a common knee problem that causes pain around and under the kneecap. PFPS can be caused by overuse and overload, biomechanical predisposed problems, and muscular dysfunction. Another cause that can lead to the pain you described is prolonged sitting (at work).

    Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is often times caused by excessive pounding on the knee joint. This leads the condition to be called “runner’s knee” and can explain why you feel it after playing basketball. When there is pounding on your tibia, femur, and patella (kneecap), from sports such as running and basketball, the force causes stress on your kneecap and surrounding area creating the pain you are experiencing.

    Dr. Mjaanes
    Dr. Mjaanes
    Treatment Options:
    There is good and bad news to PFP Syndrome. The good news is it can be cured and you can remain physically active; the bad news is that participating in sports such as running, basketball, and volleyball should be postponed until the condition stops. I recommend staying physically active but changing your routine to low impact exercises. Examples of these include swimming, elliptical machines, and biking.

    Most doctors will also recommend with your new low-impact workouts to include quadriceps-strengthening exercises. Your quadriceps muscles play an important role in the amount of stress put on your knee joint. The stronger your muscles are, the less pressure and force placed on the kneecap.

    Most importantly you should seek the opinion of a qualified orthopaedic specialist. Your PFPS problem may be a biomechanical predisposed problem that can only be remedied with proper orthotics. Make sure to bring your footwear in when you see the specialist because this could also be a cause of your problem.

    For more information about Dr. Mjaanes and the Sports Medicine physicians of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, call 877.MD BONES or visit them online at www.rushortho.com.

    The information contained on this page is intended only for general public education, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for direct medical advice. This information should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified orthopaedic physician.



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