Patella Femoral Joint (PFJ) Pain Syndrome
Pain at the front of the knee is most commonly PFJ syndrome. PFJ syndrome is caused by irritation, inflammation or degeneration between the surfaces of the Patella (knee cap) and the Femur (Thigh bone). PFJ is most often seen in cyclist or runners and is often caused by sudden increases in activity and mechanical abnormalities during activity.
From a Podiatrists point of view, PFJ pain is viewed predominantly as a mechanical problem where increases in motion in certain planes or lack of available motion in planes can be seen to increase irritation between the patella and the femur. Knee motion can be complex and sometimes the smallest of changes can cause a large effect on symptoms.
Mechanical changes can be made via a variety of treatment modalities to change symptoms and movement in the knee. Footwear, orthotics, stretching and strengthening as well as strapping, massage and dry needling can all be treatment options in the treatment of PFJ syndrome. Sometimes activity may need to be decreased in the early phases of treatments although should not significantly change your fitness goals.