Anyone who engages in regular training that is two or three times a week, may at some time suffer with patellofemoral pain.
In our practice, we often see this injury in athletes involved in repetitive activities such as squatting with heavy weights and or ground reaction forces from running long distances. The risk of this injury maybe reduced if you follow these suggestions.
The quadriceps muscles are located on the front of the femur bone (thigh) and insert into the top of the patella or knee cap.
When the quads are contracted this pulls on the patella ligament raising the lower leg.
It is important that the knee-cap rides evenly through its groove and for this it relies on an equal pull from each head of the quadriceps.
Any muscle imbalance within the quadriceps muscles can misalign the knee cap leading to friction of the cartilage lining the undersurface of the knee cap.
This is one of the factors predisposing the knee-cap to the roughening of its underside or chondromalacia patellae.
Ordinarily, the underside of the knee-cap and surface of the thigh bone are covered in a film of cartilage. It is possible for damage to occur between these two surfaces, even though the cartilage allows for a friction-free glide. The cartilage is continually being rubbed away, but is able to regenerate and reform.
If the amount of wear and tear on the cartilage outstrips its capacity to regenerate then it will start to break down and wear. Microscopic cracks will form in the cartilage and if these two bony surfaces come into contact pain will result.
What can we do to prevent this injury?
One of the basic methods of preventing this condition is by warming the knees up prior to physical activity. Only carry out a half squat and ensure as you go down you place your body weight over your heels to offload the knee cap.
Passive stretching of the muscles of the lower leg may help to prevent muscle asymmetry.
Here at Blackshot’s Osteopathic Centre we will also look at restoring the neuromotor control of the muscles around the pelvis and leg and address other remote factors that may be altering how you function when participating in physical exercise.
Please feel free to email-blackshotsosteopathiccentre@gmail or phone 01375377034 should you need an appointment.