PATELLA FEMORAL PAIN AND REDUCED ACTIVITY LEVELS

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Tid Bits of Info

  • The American Heart Association recommends that people attempt to walk 10,000 steps per day.
  • AHA also recommends moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for 30+ minutes at least 4 times a week.
  • By exercising at the same time each day, it becomes a part of the daily routine.
  • Aerobic exercises can include playing sports, walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and stair stepping.
  • Strength and stretching exercises are also recommended to increase stamina and flexibility.
  • Physical Therapy for anterior knee pain can involve exercises that increase flexibility, strength, and endurance.

Physical activity can be difficult for people with patella femoral pain (front of knee pain), and this can lead to other undesired problems. Active lifestyles have been shown to be extremely beneficial physically and mentally. Conversely, those that live a sedentary lifestyle tend to have more health issues as they grow older.   Being physically active can help to maintain body weight, all aspects of cardiovascular health, enhance the quality of life and help to reduce the onset of chronic disease and pre-mature death.  Physical Therapist can help people suffering from patella femoral pain return to a more active lifestyle.

Anterior knee pain is one of the most common types of knee conditions that is treated daily by healthcare professionals. The cause of the pain must be diagnosed and then treated to reduce the symptoms because it has been shown that people suffering from this condition are inherently less active.  Their inability to perform activity due to an increase in anterior knee pain that correlates directly to the increase forces most people to become more sedentary.  Some studies indicate that nearly 75% of all people (young and older) that suffer from this condition will modify or eliminate the activity or activities that cause pain.  As the anterior knee pain worsens, the amount of exercise or physical activity that is performed by the person suffering from those symptoms generally is reduced to nearly nothing.

Physically active people have less chance of being over-weight, developing type 2 diabetes, having cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes, are less of a fall risk due to increased musculoskeletal strength, developing some cancers, depression, and anxiety.  Being physically active requires someone to elevate their heart rate and perform a strength-developing program.  The inability to perform these types of exercises due to anterior knee pain can be very common.  The treatment of this type of condition can be very successful but the person with the symptoms must be dedicated and patient. The treatment protocol will need to include strength-developing exercises for the core and lower extremities.  Many of the causes associated with anterior knee pain can be directly linked to weakness in various muscles in these body parts.

Treating anterior knee pain can be tricky because the cause can come from many different sources.  The body works as a kinetic chain and if there is a weak spot in any of the links the symptom of anterior knee pain can arise. Some of the more common causes are as follows.  Many people lack the core strength (muscles that attach to the pelvis) to control the pelvis which in turn cannot control the lower extremities.  Weakness in the core can lead to abnormal hip motion that puts more stress and strain on the front of the knee. Weakness in muscles surrounding the knee joint can lead to abnormal motion in the patella (knee cap) as it tracks up and down in a groove at the end of leg bone (femur) when the knee moves from a flexed to an extended position or vice versa. And lastly, if there is too much motion in the foot and ankle complex (excessive pronation) there shin bone can rotate too much and cause the patella to track abnormally in the groove.

Seeking treatment for anterior knee pain can begin with a visit to a Physical Therapist that specializes in treating orthopaedic injuries.  The Physical Therapist is a licensed professional that will evaluate your symptoms and determine the cause or causes of the anterior knee pain.  In most instances, the cause is associated with more than one cause.  The Physical Therapist will develop a rehabilitation program that will address the imbalances of strength, flexibility, muscular endurance and neuromuscular control that exist in the person’s musculoskeletal system.  The first goal is to reduce the symptom of pain and correct the imbalances so the function of the joints in the lower extremity is normal.  The ultimate goal is to have the person return to an active lifestyle.