For adults over the age of 30 little pains here and there often seem to just be part of not being a kid anymore. But in cases when pain inhibits walking, climbing stairs, or other activities it isn’t easy to write it off to age. Knee pain in some cases can be due to a lack of strength in supporting musculature in addition to other factors. In this article we will touch briefly on symptoms of one type of knee pain often referred to as Runner’s Knee.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is manifested by an often acute pain in the area of the knee during activities that put pressure on it. When you walk, climb stairs, or run your patella or knee cap is the center of a confluence of physical forces from within and outside the body. Running in particular can cause friction on various points of the patella, particularly if one or more ideal conditions do not exist. It’s a delicate piece of human physiology and the number of ways it can be hurt are so numerous that doctors are often reluctant to generalize when patients complain about pain there. Rather physicians prefer to be able to talk with a patient and feel the reaction of the knee cap to pressure. Some very simple detection like this can often give a doctor the certainty needed to prescribe exercises, diet, or other course of action for a patient suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome; however, some cases may require greater visibility such as radiology.
One common sign of PFPS is pain while bending to a squatting position or while climbing stairs. Though the onset of this syndrome may be due to a number of factors some common influences may be extreme use of the knee in heavy physical activities, increase in body weight, lack of exercise in muscles that support the work of the patella, or injury.
In many cases PFPS can be adequately managed between the patient and doctor without surgery. In some cases physical therapy can help a patient to develop the muscles around the knee or alleviate other physiological factors that are leading to the overuse or misuse of the knee joint. Home exercises are a core part of any treatment plan though since most of the work required to treat PFPS has to be reinforced outside of a clinical or therapeutic setting. Bracing devices may sometimes be recommended by a physician in order to avoid greater damage to the knee.
One big risk with pain like this is making assumptions. Though cost factors and schedules often get in the way of going to a doctor this type of pain should be dealt with professionally as soon as possible. It is always the case that pain similar to that associated with PFPS can instead be due to a more serious problem with the knee joint and in those cases minimizing further damage to the knee is critical to future mobility and quality of life.