Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a common knee injury also known as runner's knee. It is caused by increased pressure and friction under the patella as it tracks in the patellofemoral groove. This increased friction leads to inflammation and pain under the patella. Common symptoms include pain going up and down stairs as well as getting out of a chair.
A study publised in the American Journal of Sports Medicine identified the importance of physiotherapy in the treatment of this painful condition. This is an excellent randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial providing significant evidence for physiotherapy intervention for individuals with PFPS.
67 patients with PFPS of greater than one-month were randomly allocated to either the placebo or the physiotherapy intervention group.
The physiotherapy group received 6 treatments including quads and gluteal retraining, patellar mobilizations and specific patellar taping.
The placebo group also received treatments of sham ultrasound and placebo taping.
Resulst:The patients in the physiotherpay group had SIGNIFICANTLY greater improvements in average pain and disability scores than the unfortunate patients in the placebo group.
Clinical Relevance: This is a great study and reference demonstrating the importance of physiotherapy for individuals with persistent patello-femoral pain.
Exercises targeting the gluteus maximus and medius are effecitve in reducing patellofemoral pain. These muslces help to control the movement of the femur promoting proper alignment of the leg during activity.
Stretching of tight muslces in the leg also help to reduce pressure and misalignment of the patella during movement. Your physiotherapist can help to design a specific exercise program based on what muscles you have which are weak and stiff.