Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

A few years ago I was mowing the yard and stepped in a little whole and twisted my leg/knee a little. Every since then, I’ve felt like my right knee cap area is kind of indented and when standing or walking on it for long periods of time it kind of sweats and feels mushy.

I used to squat a lot – when getting things out of the bottom cabinets, when playing with my nephew, when doing a photography session, when gardening and pulling weeds. And I’ve had my knee pop before in these positions, but usually when standing up, it pops right back into place.

Well a few weeks ago I was squatted out by our storage shed pulling weeds and turned while squatted and felt my knee pop. I thought no big deal and when I went to stand up it wouldn’t pop back and I thought I was going to die. I tried squatting down again and had a lot of pain trying to stand up. I couldn’t walk on it and it hurt really bad. I gimped my way through the yard and garage and up the stairs into the house to call my husband to come and take me either to the Mec center or the ER. As I was sitting in the chair trying to move my leg and knee around I just felt this relief and stood up and started walking on it and it was fine. It was fine for a day or two, but every since then it’s been bothering me and it feels like it’s getting worse. When I walk, I’m kind of limping and it’s causing my right ankle and hip to hurt now. And when I walk, I’m cracking more then ever. I’ve iced it, used a heating pad, used a stop pain spray, tried Tylenol and a pain pill and nothing really seems to bring relief.

So I ventured to the doctor last Tuesday afternoon and he told me I had Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and told me more about it, but said I could look it up on for more info.  I was also told to use Tylenol for pain (I'm allergic to NSAIDs which would probably help better) and then to do these leg stretches a few times a day.

Here is what WebMD has to say about it:

What is patellofemoral pain syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It sometimes is caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.

What causes patellofemoral pain syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be caused by overuse, injury, excess weight, a kneecap that is not properly aligned (patellar tracking disorder), or changes under the kneecap.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is knee pain, especially when sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping, or using the stairs (especially going down stairs). You may also experience occasional knee buckling, in which the knee suddenly and unexpectedly gives way and does not support your body weight. A catching, popping, or grinding sensation when walking or with knee movement is also common.

How is patellofemoral pain syndrome diagnosed?

Your health professional will conduct a medical history and physical exam to determine the cause of your pain. In some cases, imaging tests including X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be done. These tests allow a doctor to view the tissues inside your knee to rule out damage to the structure of the knee and the tissues connected to it.

How is it treated?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be relieved by avoiding activities that make symptoms worse.

Avoid sitting or kneeling in the bent-knee position for long periods of time.

Adjust a bicycle or exercise bike so that the resistance is not too great and the seat is at an appropriate height. The rider should be able to spin the pedals of an exercise bike without shifting weight from side to side, and the legs should not be fully extended at the lowest part of the pedal stroke.

Avoid bent-knee exercises, such as squats, deep knee bends, or 90-degree leg extensions.

Other methods to relieve pain include:

Taking nonprescription anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to decrease swelling, stiffness, and pain.

Ice and rest.

Physical therapy exercises. Exercises may include stretching to increase flexibility and decrease tightness around the knee, and straight-leg raises and other exercises to strengthen the quadriceps muscle.

Taping or using a brace to stabilize the kneecap.


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