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By June 14, 2021Foot Pain

Patellofemoral SyndromeIf you have patellofemoral syndrome, you might be wondering whether it can be treated and cured at home. Being able to treat your pain at home rather than having to see a medical professional can definitely appeal to a lot of people. In the case of patellofemoral syndrome, there are some things that you can do to improve your condition at home. However, there are also times when you might find that it is necessary to seek further treatment.

What Is Patellofemoral Syndrome?

Patellofemoral syndrome is a condition that affects the knee and kneecap (the patella). It describes pain at the front of the knee and around the kneecap and is sometimes referred to by informal names such as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee.

It can cause discomfort or pain, which often occurs as the result of overuse or trauma. Another possible cause is a kneecap that tracks abnormally or moves in the groove at the end of the femur. When this occurs, it can put pressure on the cartilage around the kneecap or at the end of the femur.

The symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome may include pain when bending the knee or pain when exercising. You might also feel pain when sitting for extended periods. Another symptom is cracking or popping sounds in the knee, especially when using stairs or after sitting for a long time.

How Is Patellofemoral Syndrome Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose patellofemoral syndrome by examining the knee. They will also talk to the patient about when they feel pain and what makes it worse. They can perform a physical exam by feeling around your kneecap for instability and asking the patient to perform some different movements. Sometimes, they might order an X-ray, although it is often unnecessary to diagnose patellofemoral syndrome.

Patellofemoral SyndromeHow Is Patellofemoral Syndrome Treated?

Treatments for patellofemoral syndrome can include a number of options. Some of these treatments allow you to recover at home, while others can provide alternative treatments from a doctor.

Home treatments

Many cases of patellofemoral syndrome can be improved with rest, making it possible to treat the condition at home. It is often the result of overuse, so resting for a period can help to relieve the pain that you feel.

If you want to treat your pain at home, start by using the RICE method. Rest your leg, use ice to help reduce swelling, use compression, and elevate your leg. A pull-on bandage or elastic bandage can provide compression. Cut out the area around the knee cap to avoid putting pressure on it. You can take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin to treat the pain and reduce inflammation.

Wearing orthotics in your shoes is another way to treat patellofemoral syndrome at home. You can buy them from a store or have them custom-made, and they will help to stabilize your foot and ankle. You might also find that a sports massage helps to loosen tight muscles that may be causing pain.

Medical treatments

In addition to home treatments, there are also some medical treatments that are used to treat patellofemoral syndrome. If your condition doesn’t respond to at-home treatment, surgery is sometimes suggested by doctors. This could include a few different procedures. One option is arthroscopy, which involves removing damaged cartilage with the help of a camera inserted into the knee. This can also allow tendons to be loosened to prevent them from pulling on the kneecap. Another possible surgery is tibial tubercle transfer, which realigns the kneecap. It involves removing the tibial tubercle (a bony part of the shin) and the patellar tendon.

Surgery is usually the last resort when at-home and over-the-counter treatments are not effective. It’s not normally needed but can be an option that’s available.

How to Prevent Patellofemoral Syndrome

You can reduce your risk of patellofemoral syndrome at home by stretching and strengthening the muscles around the knee. Two of the types of exercises you can use are leg extensions and quadriceps stretches.

With leg extensions, simply sit up straight in a chair and extend your leg out. Hold the position for five seconds and lower your foot, before repeating the movement ten times and repeating on the other leg. Do three sets with rests of 15 to 30 seconds in between.

To stretch your quadriceps, pull your foot back toward your thigh and point your knee to the floor. Make sure you’re holding onto something to stay sturdy if you need to. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg before doing the same three to five more times.

You can treat patellofemoral syndrome at home using orthotics, OTC painkillers, and the RICE method.

Author Derek Gilmer

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