Put your best foot forward
The patella is a relatively small, mobile bone which is subject to large forces in everyday activity such as arising from a chair and climbing or descending steps/ stairs.
Kneecap (patellofemoral) pain is the commonest knee problem.
Typical symptoms include:
The pain is often poorly localised but is usually felt around the front of the knee or under the kneecap but also commonly in the back of the knee.
Patellofemoral pain affects a wide age range from early adolescence to older age. Unfortunately, the cause of the pain is often uncertain and therefore it is difficult to treat or ‘cure’.
Investigations including x-rays and MRI scans are often normal.
The most common contributing factors are:
1. Abnormal or increased load
2. Abnormal tracking/ alignment of the kneecap
The majority of cases are associated with abnormal or increased load or subtle maltracking of the kneecap.
Surgery has very little role in these patients and treatment is directed at decreasing the loads on the kneecap by:
Surgery (arthroscopy) has a role in:
Kneecap pain is very common and although there is no ‘cure’ the symptoms are often more of a nuisance than severe and can be eased by simple measures such as weight loss, avoiding bending, climbing etc and doing simple exercises and stretches.
If your surgeon recommends surgery, be sure you understand what is planned and be realistic about the outcome.
The aim is improvement not cure, there is no guarantee and there is a small risk that you could be worse.
This material has been produced as a reference guide only and should not be used in place of a consultation with a qualified medical practitioner.