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The Best Treatment for Anterior Knee Pain – Patellofemoral Joint Pain

What is Patellofemoral Joint Pain?

Patellofemoral joint pain is a common condition that affects about 23% of adults per year in the Australian population. This pain can persist and affect day to day function and physical activity in about 50% of cases.

Pain usually presents at the anterior knee (near the kneecap). This pain can also present at the inside or outside of the front of the knee, or even behind the kneecap. Because of this, the knee is normally painful during activities that put load/pressure through the knee, such as climbing stairs, walking up or downhill, squatting and running.

What does research suggest is the best treatment for Patellofemoral Joint pain?

In 2018, a panel of international researchers and health professionals met on the Gold Coast to discuss the latest evidence for treating anterior knee pain. The recommendations from this panel were as follows:

  1. Exercise (including strengthening exercises of the quadriceps [thigh muscles]) is highly recommended to reduce pain in the short, medium and long term. As well as reducing pain, It is also proven to improve function in the medium and long term.
  2. Strengthening exercises of the hip and knee are recommended to reduce pain and improve function in the short, medium and long term. So a combination of the two should be used in preference to knee exercises alone.
  3. Foot orthoses are recommended to help reduce pain in the short term.
  4. A combination of points 1-3 are recommended to reduce pain in adults with patellofemoral pain in the short and medium term. Therefore combined interventions as a management program must not only incorporate strengthening exercises but also one of the following: foot orthotics, Patello-femoral joint taping and/or manual therapy.
  5. Patellofemoral, knee and lumbar mobilisations are not recommended in isolation.
  6. Electrophysical agents are not recommended. [1]

How we implement this at MD Health

At MD Health, we can provide a combination of hip and knee strengthening exercises, which we will gradually increase to ensure pain-free loading of the patellofemoral joint. Additional to strengthening exercises, we can also add some manual therapy to your session as well if indicated.

Patellofemoral joint pain can often be seen as part of knee osteoarthritis, therefore we would treat this pain concurrently with the arthritic pain. But remember –It can take up to 12 or 13 weeks to strengthen the hip and knee muscles enough to improve knee pain and prevent it from recurring!

[1] Collins, N. J., Barton, C. J., van Middelkoop, M., Callaghan, M. J., Rathleff, M. S., Vicenzino, B. T., Davis, I. S., Powers, C. M., Macri, E. M., Hart, H. F., de Oliveira Silva, D., & Crossley, K. M. (2018). 2018 Consensus statement on exercise therapy and physical interventions (orthoses, taping and manual therapy) to treat patellofemoral pain: recommendations from the 5th International Patellofemoral Pain Research Retreat, Gold Coast, Australia, 2017. British journal of sports medicine52(18), 1170–1178. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-099397

 

Want to know more about the Physiotherapy treatment of Patellofemoral Joint Pain?

If you want more information or have any questions about knee pain:

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  • Call us on (03) 9857 0644 or (07) 3505 1494 (Paddington)
  • Email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au
  • Check out our other blog posts here

Our staff would be happy to have chat if you have any questions.

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