An Overview on Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Treatment
Patellofemoral pain syndrome causes patients in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area to experience pain in the front of the knee and around the patella (kneecap). Patients often experience difficulty with kneeling, squatting and climbing stairs. This knee condition is also known as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee” since it is commonly associated with the athletic population. Acute pain due to patellofemoral pain is treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation. Sometimes, anti-inflammatories such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve are necessary to decrease pain and swelling. Chronic patellofemoral pain that do not respond to conservative treatment options may require surgical intervention to alleviate symptoms and restore function to the knee. Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic knee surgeon, is highly trained in arthroscopic patellofemoral pain syndrome treatment so patients affected by this condition can return to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Several factors may contribute to development of patellofemoral pain. Most include overuse and overload to the patellofemoral joint over time from repetitive high impact loading exercises, running, squatting and excessive stair climbing or hiking. Sometimes, acute pain and swelling may be due to a sudden increase in physical activity, such as exercise frequency or intensity. Patellofemoral pain is commonly associated with abnormal tracking of the patella in the trochlear groove. In this condition, the patella is pushed to one side of the groove when the knee is in a bent position. This leads to increased contact pressure and can lead to asymmetric wear of the cartilage on that side of the patellofemoral joint causing pain and dysfunction.
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Surgery for patellofemoral pain may include:
- Arthroscopic chondroplasty – In certain patients, removing damaged articular cartilage from the surface of the patella can provide pain relief.
- Arthroscopic lateral release- If the lateral patellar retinaculum is tight causing undue tension on the lateral patella, releasing the retinaculum and capsule can reduce the pressure within the patellofemoral joint.
- Cartilage restoration – If there is significant wear of the patella or trochlear cartilage, various cartilage repair procedures may be performed including microfracture, juvenile cartilage transplant, autologous chondrocyte implantation, and osteochondral autograft/allograft transfer.
- Tibia tubercle osteotomy – If significant maltracking of the patella is diagnosed, then a realignment procedure will be performed. This involves cutting a wedge of bone at the insertion site of the patellar tendon on the tibia and shifting it anteromedially to improve tracking. The tibia tubercle will then be fixed in its new position with screws.
Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Arthroscopic Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Treatment
Patients will be prescribed strict rehabilitation guidelines following patellofemoral surgery depending on what was performed. Typically, patients will be required to utilize crutches while the repaired joint heals. Physical therapy will be initiated post surgery to restore strength and mobility to the knee joint. Full recovery may range from six weeks to more than six months depending on the injury severity and type of surgery.
For additional resources on arthroscopic patellofemoral pain syndrome treatment, or to determine if you are a candidate for knee cap surgery, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Jervis Yau, knee surgeon located in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities.