Did you know 1 in 5 adults will experience kneecap or patellofemoral pain at some point?
This increases to nearly 30% in adolescents whilst runners are more likely to experience this than not. (Incidence and prevalence of patellofemoral pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis, 2018)
So it’s no surprise that kneecap pain can manifest across a huge spectrum of physical activities and movements across a whole spectrum of age, physical conditioning, lifestyle and gender.
Most commonly, kneecap pain will affect activities like walking up/down stairs, running and squatting.
So why does this happen and what can we do about it?
Whilst kneecap pain sounds simple enough, the cause of it is still a topic of research and discussion. However, the general consensus is that it boils down to a couple of key factors: mechanical overload and biomechanics.
A common narrative from someone presenting with kneecap pain is that in recent weeks to months, due to a new fitness goal or for other reasons there has been a sharp increase in the amount of physical activity being done. This knee pain occurs gradually and is purely a response of the tissues in and around the kneecap becoming irritated from having to do more than what they can tolerate. To overcome this, appropriate physical activity load planning is important.
Biomechanics can play an important role in this condition although there is some conflicting research around this topic. Control of movement of the kneecap can be affected by muscle strength and bony anatomy of the hip. Variations in the angle of the hip and knee plus changes in hip and thigh muscle strength are often associated with kneecap pain.
To optimise this and reduce any potential risk factors, it is important to assess movement patterns and correct any obvious issues that may be affecting the kneecap.
Our skilled physiotherapists at Target Physio can assess and guide your load planning and biomechanics to ensure your knee pain isn’t stopping you from doing what you want, need and love to do. Get started today, book your assessment here.