How to help patellofemoral pain
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is also commonly referred to as runner’s knee.
As such it can be determined that you can often suffer from this ailment due to excessive running but there are many other causes of PFPS.
Runners, cyclists, hikers, and people who do a large amount of sitting throughout the day, such as office workers, are all prone to the syndrome. PFPS is a common form of knee pain and results in pain under and around the kneecap.
A large number of people who contract patellofemoral pain syndrome will recover with extensive rest and can then slowly make their way back into their normal routine. This, of course, is not true for everyone.
Other times it may require more than just rest.
To avoid chronic knee pain, which can be a lasting injury, there are some steps that you can take to heal quicker and get proper knee function back sooner.
The longer that you leave this knee pain, the longer it can take to heal and it could even become treatment-resistant.
Many therapists have varying theories for the best treatment of PFPS. Some are proven to assist while others can often cause more issues with your knee later down the track.
One of the best methods to treat patellofemoral pain is through correcting muscle imbalances. This involves training the muscles to pull evenly on the kneecap.
This will in the long term help to relieve patellofemoral pain and prevent this kind of injury in the future. This is not plausible for all patients but has proven to yield great results if possible.
Patellofemoral pain can get worse either when you are overly active or when you are stationary for a long period of time.
In this day and age, when many jobs revolve around a desk, this can cause knee pain in sufferers.
The best advice you can take is to use approved stretches twice daily and avoid any physical exercise that causes excessive pounding on your leg. proper walking or running shoes can also assist with supporting your knee and minimizing the pain.
The best stretches for patellofemoral pain syndrome
The best advice for patellofemoral knee pain is to be patient. It can be a hard condition to treat but with persistence, you will find that regular stretching and exercise you will see drastic changes in as little as six weeks.
The following stretches and exercises will certainly reduce your recovery time.
1. Straight leg lift
The straight leg lift will strengthen your quadriceps and is easy to perform in your home.
Lay on the floor, with your upper body positioned upright, resting on your elbows bent at a right angle.
Raise your right leg off the ground as far as you can and hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds.
Then lower your leg to the floor slowly and repeat ten times before switching to your other leg.
2. Iliotibial band and buttock stretch
The iliotibial band and buttock stretch is also a beneficial stretch you can work on at home.
Sit on the floor with your right leg outstretched and left bent at the knee, with your left foot on the opposite side of your right knee.
Twist your arms around so that your palms are flat on the floor on the left side.
Twist to the left and use your right arm to push your left leg. The stretch will be apparent from your left buttock all the way to the outer part of your left thigh muscles.
Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds and then repeat ten times over. After you can switch to the opposite side and do the same with your right leg.
3. Iliotibial band stretch
For the iliotibial band stretch, you should stand with your upper body bent over at the hips and right leg crossed in front of the left.
With your arms straight, keep your hands together and pointing toward the floor.
Hold this stretch for up to 20 seconds before switching sides. Repeat on each side ten times.
4. Hip abductor stretch
For hip abductor strengthening you will need a medium rubber ball, large enough to keep your knees about shoulder-width apart.
In a sitting position, place the ball between your knees and squeeze them together.
Hold the squeeze for 5 to 10 seconds and release. You can repeat this up to 10 times with a 5-second break between reps.
5. Calf stretch
For the calf stretch, position yourself against a wall with your palms flat against it and your right leg straight back.
Your left leg should be bent and in line with your shoulders, pointed in front of you. Keep your right heel on the ground and feel the stretch through your leg.
Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat for the other leg.
6. Hamstring stretch
The final exercise on our selective list is the hamstring stretch. Lay flat against the ground and bring your knee toward your chest, bent at a right angle.
Hold your thigh with both hands to steady yourself and straighten your leg in the air until you can feel the stretch in your hamstring.
At this point hold your position for 5 to 10 seconds and then release your leg back down to the floor. You can repeat ten times for each leg.
Staying in good physical shape and keeping active once your patellofemoral pain has significantly healed can prevent such injuries from reoccurring.
However, be wary of taking on too much too soon when it comes to your exercise routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What helps patellofemoral pain?
Rest followed by physical therapy, including exercise, is the best way to treat patellofemoral pain syndrome.
This should be discussed with your doctor or physical therapist.
How long does patellofemoral pain last?
This is determined by the individual and their health and the extent of the injury. The general consensus is six weeks to six months.
What are good exercises for patellofemoral pain syndrome?
There are three different types of exercises that are great for this syndrome.
Water exercise, walking and low-impact circuit training can certainly speed up recovery if it is taken with care and the necessary precautions.