Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) also known as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee, is a painful condition under or around the patella (kneecap). One knee or both may experience PFPS. This condition can occur in both children and adults, but it is more common in individuals who engage in physical activities such as running and jumping, particularly in sports.
Patellofemoral pain can be worsened by activities such as running, stairs climbing, prolonged sitting, or squatting. While physical therapy may be necessary in some cases, simple treatments like rest and ice can often help manage the condition.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome symptoms gradually develop. Frequent activity could make symptoms worse. The most common symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is a dull, aching pain at the front of the knee. Symptoms may include:
- Pain when bending the knee such as squatting or climbing the stairs
- Pain that worsens when changing regular playing surface, athletic equipment, or level of activity intensity varies.
- Pain after sitting for long periods of time.
- Knee makes popping or crackling noises when standing up or go up the stairs.
It is recommended to seek medical attention if knee pain persists for several days without improvement.
It is unclear what causes patellofemoral pain syndrome. Several factors, such as the following, could result in the development of PFPS:
- Overusing of the knee joint
- Misalignment of the kneecap.
- Imbalance or weakness of muscles around the hip and knee
- Trauma or injury to the kneecap
- Incorrect technique or equipment use in sports training
- Knee surgery
The following factors could increase the risk in developing PFPS:
- Age: Patellofemoral pain syndrome can affect people of all ages, but it is more commonly seen in teenagers and young adults. In contrast, arthritis is a more typical cause of knee problems in older populations.
- Sex: It is more common for women to develop patellofemoral pain syndrome compared to men, which may be due to anatomical differences. This could be due to the fact that women generally have wider pelvis, which can increase the angle at which the bones of the knee joint meet.
- Sports activity: Running and jumping sports can put more strain on the knees, especially as the training intensity increases.