This condition affects the anterior knee joint which consists of the knee cap (patella) and the lower end of the thigh bone (femur bone).
Patellofemoral Syndrome occurs when the patella does not glide properly on the lower end of the femur. This can cause acute to chronic pain in all age groups. The patella glides up and down on a groove on the femur bone when walking and the articulating surface has cartilage like any other joint in the human body. If the patella does not glide up and down in the groove it can cause bone on bone rubbing and/or degeneration of the cartilage. This is phrased as Patellofemoral Dysfunction. The misalignment or dysfunction of the patella can be caused by:
• Poor alignment of lower limbs
• Increased pronation of the foot
• Muscular imbalance
• Incorrect training/exercise
• Hereditary factors
The patella is attached to the quadriceps muscle found at the front of the thigh bone. These muscles may be weak in those with patellofemoral pain. The quadriceps is a combination of four muscle, vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL) and rectus femoris and vastus intermediates (VI). The patella is a vulnerable bone due to the fact that very powerful muscles attach to it and therefore is sensitive to any musculature imbalances or biomechanical changes. In some cases Patellofemoral Syndrome may not be produced by misalignment but due to joint disease, abnormal bony change, overuse injuries and post trauma related.
Podiatrists are the primary health care providers of the feet and lower limb and commonly treat conditions such as this. If the patella femoral pain is caused by poor biomechanics that then creates a muscular imbalance in the quadriceps, then this is addressed. Poor biomechanics such as foot pronation causes the leg and hip are often addressed with soft full-length orthoses.
Lever Amler podiatry centres offer a full assessment of lower limb mechanics and specialises in treating biomechanical injuries, such as patella femoral pain. With the aid of video gait analysis and experience, the Podiatrist is able to come to a successful diagnoses and treatment plan.