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Medical Professionals


What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome? by Maria Kminski

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of the knee and around the patella, or kneecap. It is a very common cause of knee pain; it is the source of 25-40% of all knee problems. It is sometimes called “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee” because it is common in people who participate in sports, but patellofemoral pain syndrome can occur in non-athletes as well. Specific populations at risk for developing patellofemoral pain syndrome include runners, bicyclists, basketball players, cheerleaders, and females. The pain and stiffness it causes can make it difficult to climb stairs, kneel down, or sit for prolonged periods of time. What causes it?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be caused by overuse from athletics, training, or activities that put repeated stress on the knee such as jogging, squatting, and climbing stairs. It can also be caused by a sudden change in activity or a change in footwear. Patellofemoral syndrome may also be caused by the kneecap moving abnormally as you bend and straighten your knee, which causes irritation of soft tissue surrounding the kneecap. Factors that contribute to the kneecap moving abnormally include problems with alignment between the hips and ankles and weak or tight muscles surrounding the knee joint, especially the quadriceps muscle. The quadriceps muscle is located in the front of your thigh and helps to keep the kneecap in place as it moves when you bend and straighten your knee. Tight calf and hamstring muscles as well as a tight IT band may also contribute to the abnormality. The IT band is a thick band of tissue that runs from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee. The structure of your feet can play a role in patellofemoral pain syndrome as well. Having flat feet can contribute to increased knee pain by creating additional stress on the knee joint when running. Therefore, it is important to wear footwear with adequate arch support while exercising.

surrounding your knee. The initial goal is to decrease pain and inflammation through activity modification and through the use of pain-relieving modalities, such as ice. You will be advised to take a break from any activity that is increasing your pain or to reduce the amount of time spent performing that activity. You will also receive specific strengthening and stretching exercises to address muscles in your leg that may be weak or tight. Typically, strengthening exercises of the knee and hip are provided to help support the knee. Your therapist may also apply tape around your kneecap to help maintain the kneecap in position to move properly and reduce knee pain during exercise. In addition, your therapist may prescribe exercises and interventions to address foot abnormalities, such as with flat feet or feet with high arches, or recommend the use of an orthotic. You will receive a specifically designed home exercise program to get you started after the physical therapy examination is completed.

What are the symptoms of patellofemoral pain syndrome?

The most common symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee. The pain often cannot be pinpointed. Other common symptoms include: • Pain during exercise and activities that repeatedly bend the knee, such as climbing stairs, running, jumping, or squatting. • Pain after sitting for a long period of time with your knees bent, such as one does in a movie theater or when riding on an airplane. • Pain related to a change in activity level or intensity, playing surface, or equipment. • Popping or crackling sounds in your knee when climbing stairs or when standing up after prolonged sitting. • Swelling around the kneecap.

How can physical therapy help? Your physical therapist will conduct an examination to determine the cause of your knee pain, which includes testing the strength and flexibility of the muscles

How can I prevent patellofemoral pain syndrome from reoccurring?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be prevented by: • Wearing shoes appropriate to your activities; make sure to have proper arch support • Warming up thoroughly before physical activity • Incorporating stretching and flexibility exercises for the quadriceps and hamstrings into your warm-up routine, and stretching after physical activity • Increasing training gradually • Reducing any activity that has hurt your knees in the past • Maintaining a healthy body weight to avoid overstressing your knees At All-Care Physical Therapy the physical therapists have the knowledge and the skills to help with your patellofemoral pain syndrome. They will develop an individualized treatment plan to alleviate your pain and help you return to your normal daily activities!

Coming Soon: Jackson Specialty Service Center


24 North Cooks Bridge Road Maria Kaminski, DPT Physical Therapist


Come Experience The All-Care Difference For Yourself! Whiting • Toms River • Freehold/Howell Manchester • Barnegat • Jackson • Wall/Manasquan Forked River • Brick/Silverton • Brick/Ramtown Manahawkin • Home Therapy Certified Hand Therapist

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The County Woman Magazine www.TheCountyWoman.com

Maria graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the College of New Jersey in 2011. She continued her education at Rutgers/UMDNJ Graduate School where she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2014. Maria has completed affiliations at HealthSouth of Tinton Falls and Jersey Shore Medical Center, where she studied cardiac and pulmonary rehab, orthopedic rehab, and neurologic rehab post-CVA. Her main focus has been in the outpatient orthopedic setting where she completed a clinical affiliation at AllCare in Toms River. Her areas of interest include manual therapy techniques, post-op orthopedic and cardiac surgery, and the geriatric patient population. Maria believes in patient centered practice and that truly listening to your patient is the key to successful outcomes. She has continued her education by taking a course in rehab for post-spinal surgery.

March/April 2020

Profile for The County Woman

Ocean County Woman - March/April 2020  

The County Woman ™ is part of a nationally syndicated publication and has been around for over 31 years. There are over 371 other counties t...

Ocean County Woman - March/April 2020  

The County Woman ™ is part of a nationally syndicated publication and has been around for over 31 years. There are over 371 other counties t...