The kneecap or patella is one of the most common sources of knee pain. Pain related to the patella goes under several names including patello-femoral pain, patella tracking problem and chondromalacia patellae.
The pain is caused by injury and inflammation of the joint-cartilage covering the kneecap on the inside (behind the kneecap) and the thigh-bone (femur). It is usually caused by increased activity, direct trauma and associated joint dysfunction.
It is a common overuse injury in runners and footballers but can affect anybody. The good news is that chiropractic treatment can help you.
Symptoms include pain in the front of the knee, ‘inside’ the knee and sometimes at the back of the knee, which is worsened by putting weight on the leg when in the bent position. For example, when walking up or down stairs, kneeling, squatting, and you often feel stiff after prolonged sitting with your knees bent.
Sometimes you can feel the knees “giving way”, where the knee cant support your weight. This is a response to pain rather than actually weakness. This is because of a protective mechanism where your brain inhibits the muscles to stop you using your knee to avoid further damage. (This reflex is so effective that some people never feel the pain, just the feeling of the knee giving way.)
This condition could be classified as early wear and tear and could be a precursor to osteoarthritis if left untreated.
It can affect people of all ages but tend to be more common as we get older.
Sometimes when the cartilage on the kneecap is worn you can hear grating and cracking (crepitus) when bending the knee. It is usually associated with swelling of the knee ranging from mild to moderate. Sometimes the swelling is more prominent at the back of the knee causing a so called Baker's cyst.
The patella is a moveable bone that sits between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) and provides an increased mechanical leaver for the tendon attaching to it. It is attached to the knee via tendons of the large muscle in the front of the thigh called the quadriceps, which performs the action of straightening the knee.
Underneath the patella is articular joint cartilage. This covering helps the patella move smoothly over the thigh bone as the knee bends and straightens.
The knee cap is v-shaped underneath and has two articular surfaces. It is supposed to sit in the middle and slide up and down the middle of the groove in the thigh bone.
Poor alignment of the patella combined with overuse can cause inflammation and degeneration of the joint cartilage underneath the kneecap (patella). If this cartilage becomes damaged you will feel pain.
Chiropractic treatment will always address the underlying cause of any problem. It is very important to treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms or the pain will simply reoccur.
Patello-femoral pain can take time to heal and there is no set time for recovery. The rate of recovery depends very much on your ability to heal, the severity of the injury, how long it has been present and your compliance to treatment.
If the underlying cause of the problem is not corrected you can start to develop osteoarthritis or” wear and tear” on the surface of the kneecap.
The sooner you deal with a problem the quicker you respond, so why don't you give us a call today. Or alternatively, contact us here.
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