Could My Knee Pain be Patellofemoral Arthritis?
Patellofemoral arthritis affects the underside of the kneecap (patella) and a groove in the thigh bone (femur) where the patella rests. It causes knee pain in the front of the knee, and if left untreated, it may result in chronic knee pain and limit your activities. It becomes difficult and painful to kneel, squat, climb and descend stairs.
Symptoms of Patellofemoral Arthritis
The primary symptom of patellofemoral arthritis is chronic knee pain, often at the front of the knee. This knee pain usually begins with movement, however, there may also be pain while resting. Activities that pressure the kneecap, such as climbing stairs, kneeling, or getting up from a chair can accentuate this pain.
Other symptoms of patellofemoral arthritis may include:
● A creaking or crackling sensation in the knee, known as crepitus.
When this condition becomes advanced, your kneecap may get stuck, or catch, when you straighten your knee.
Typically is difficult to the patients use the stairs
Causes of Patellofemoral Arthritis
Doctors aren’t certain what causes patellofemoral knee pain syndrome, but it’s been commonly associated with:
- Overuse. Running or jumping sports put repetitive stress on your knee joint, which can cause irritation under the kneecap.
- Muscle imbalances or weaknesses. Patellofemoral pain can occur when the muscles around your hip and knee don’t keep your kneecap properly aligned. Inward movement of the knee while squatting has been associated with patellofemoral knee pain.
- Injury. Trauma to the kneecap, such as a dislocation or fracture, has been linked to patellofemoral knee pain syndrome.
- Surgery. Knee surgery, particularly surgery that uses the patellar tendon to repair the anterior cruciate ligament. This was found to increase the risk of experiencing patellofemoral knee pain.
Prevention of Patellofemoral Arthritis
Anyone can suffer from knee pain, but there are steps you can take towards prevention.
- Maintain strength. Strong quadriceps and hip abductor muscles help keep the knee balanced during activity. However, it is advised to avoid deep squatting during weight training.
- Alignment and technique. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about flexibility and strength exercises that optimize your jumping, running and pivoting techniques. This helps the patella to move properly along the trochlear groove. Moreover, it is especially important to exercise your outer hip muscles. This prevents your knee from caving inwards when you squat, land from a jump or step down off an elevated surface.
- Weight Management. Excess weight puts additional pressure on the knee and can speed up the natural wear and tear of the joint.
- Warm up. Before running or performing other strenuous exercises, warm up for five minutes or so with light activity to prepare the knee and reduce the risk of injury.
- Stretching. Promote flexibility with gentle stretching exercises.
- Workout intensity. When exercising, try to avoid sudden changes to your routine and introduce higher intensity training gradually.
- Wear well-fitted shoes. Make sure your shoes fit your feet well and provide good shock absorption. If you have flat feet, consider investing in shoe inserts to protect your knees.
Treatment of Patellofemoral Arthritis
- Rehabilitation exercises. Specific exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knees and control limb alignment. Correcting inward movement of the knee during squatting is the primary goal.
- Knee Braces. Knee braces or arch supports may help improve knee pain.
- Taping. Your physical therapist may show you how to tape your knee to reduce pain and enhance your ability to exercise.
- Ice. Icing your knee after activity might be helpful.
- Knee-friendly sports. During your recovery, you may want to restrict yourself to low-impact sports that are easier on the knees. Avoid jumping sports, hill running and full squates.
Your knee pain might be severe enough that it is stopping you from getting out or playing sports. In that case, minimally invasive regenerative treatments is a viable alternative to irreversible knee replacement surgeries.