The weather is warming up, the tulips are blooming in Pella, and the trees are blossoming. Yes, spring is here! It’s that wonderful time of year where you get out of the house to go for a walk or bike ride and remember that other living beings do exist in Iowa! But with spring and the increased outdoor activity, overuse injuries also begin to spike with the kneecap being one of the most common sites for overuse issues.
Pain in the front of your knee, often referred to as patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) or chondromalacia, is a problem many people experience. If you anterior knee pain and hear noise when you bend it, this might be due to poor kneecap tracking.
At Kinetic Edge, we often refer to the kneecap as a “dumb bone.” It doesn’t have a mind of its own. Like a train, it simply moves where the tracks guide it. If the tracks are off, the pressure on the undersurface of the kneecap is imbalanced, and wear and tear occurs.
By far, the most common tracking problem at the kneecap is lateral tracking, which occurs when the outside portion of the kneecap rubs repeatedly on the groove created by the underlying femur.
How do you know if you have PFS? There’s actually a very easy self-test you can perform in your own home. If your knee makes a lot of noise and hurts when you flex and extend it, do the following:
- Sit on a chair.
- Push down on your kneecap with your thumbs while you repeatedly extend and bend your knee.
- Repeat the same knee motion while lightly pushing the outside of your kneecap inwards.
If you have pain with the first motion (kneecap compression) but not with the second motion (lateral unloading), it is likely that your pain is originating from an irritation on the underside of your kneecap.
For some people, anterior knee pain and joint noise only occurs when they’re on their feet, particularly when ascending and descending stairs. If that’s your experience, you also may be experiencing PFS. A simple taping technique can help us determine the origin of your symptoms.
Thankfully, while this condition is pretty common, it is also an easy fix. It’s amazing how many people unnecessarily suffer from a condition that is so easy to alleviate. Interestingly, the key to long-term comfort and performance is making sure the friends of the knee, its closest neighbors above (hip) and below (ankle/foot), are doing their jobs well and keeping the train centered on the tracks. If you’re a cyclist with this condition, the proper set-up and fit of the bike is essential as well.
Our knee movement experts can help you eliminate the pain and return to your outdoor activity in no time.
I went here because I injured my knee during cross country. I had a hard time jumping before physical therapy.
Since I went, my knee has gotten much better. Now I’m able to participate in sports, and I’m able to run with little to no pain. The people here are very nice and have helped me out a lot.
– Jacob Shepherd
Curious if physical therapy could help you? Call 866-588-0230 or email us today to find out!