Patella femoral pain syndrome is defined as pain that originates from structures associated with the kneecap and the front of the knee joint. It is one of the most common types of knee pain and often is felt when going up or down stairs or during exercise which involves running or jumping. It is often experienced in people as they try to return to heavier loads of exercise than what they have been used to. 
It was once thought that patella femoral pain syndrome was caused by a misalignment or abnormal tracking of the kneecap. However, recent research suggests that the majority of cases of patella femoral syndrome are due to sensitisation of soft tissue associated with the front of the knee and the kneecap. 

Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome Treatment 

As patella femoral pain is typically caused by sensitivity or irritation of soft tissue, not damage to the structure of the knee, patella femoral pain syndrome treatment is relatively simple. Symptoms can often be alleviated by reducing your exercise load and then building it back up again. 
For example, a runner who develops patella femoral pain after doing approximately 7km of running, could drop their training back to 5km runs which do not provoke pain. Once they have trained comfortably for a week or two, they then can gradually build back up to a pain-free 7km run. In other types of exercise like HIIT or exercise classes, exercise load can be measured by rating your perceived exertion out of 10 and multiplying this by the number of minutes you spent exercising. The total of these two variables can be used to obtain a measure of exercise load which provokes patella femoral pain and then once this threshold is known you can drop down to an exercise load below this. 
Research has shown that often a reduction in exercise load followed by a graduated increase is all that is required to overcome patella femoral syndrome and get you back to the level of training you desire. 
If patella femoral pain remains persistent, assessment by a physiotherapist of your strength, flexibility and control of movement will be beneficial and allow for more bespoke management which can lead to faster resolution of your symptoms. All our physios at Colchester Physiotherapy and Sports injury Clinic are highly experienced when it comes to patella femoral pain syndrome treatment and would be happy to help. 


Craig Fowlie 

Craig is a highly specialized physiotherapist with post graduate qualifications in Acupuncture and Sports and Exercise Medicine. 
He has worked with Professional Rugby sides in New Zealand and has assisted Great Britain Table Tennis at the World Team Championships and Olympic Qualifiers in Qatar and Germany. He is a consultant for the Governments Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme and has published and presented research in the Journal of Physiotherapy and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Annual Conference. 
Outside of work he enjoys participating socially in triathlon and running. 
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