Patellofemoral pain (knee pain) is the medical term used to describe pain that occurs at the front of the knee, around the kneecap (patella), without signs of any damage or other problems in the knee joint. It is also called patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellofemoral syndrome, or anterior knee pain.
Knee pain can be caused by injuries, mechanical problems, forms of arthritis, tendonitis, torn ligaments or tendons, menisci or cartilage damage, bleeding in the joint, gout, bursitis, and other problems that occur while running, cycling, going up and down stairs, and squatting. Injury to the knee can increase pressure to the kneecap (patella) and the lower part of the thigh bone (femur). It often happens during adolescence and affects more young women than young men.
Swelling and stiffness, popping or crunching noises, redness and warmth to the touch, instability or weakness, limping due to discomfort, and inability to fully straighten the knee.
Knee pain may be caused by medical conditions, injuries, or types of arthritis.
Treatment includes avoiding strenuous use of the knee until the pain lessens, painkillers such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen, physiotherapy which involves strengthening the muscles around the knee and hip in order to ease stress on the knee, and taping of the kneecap (patella) which involves applying adhesive tape over the patella to alter the way it moves. Injecting corticosteroids and lubricants directly into the knee might also help in certain instances.
Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active are keys to preventing some knee pain. Performing an exercise routine, which includes flexibility exercises and balance training, and doing stretching and warm-up exercises prior to exercising or participating in sports is also a preventive measure to avoid injury. Promote good posture by doing exercises that strengthen core muscles. Wearing appropriate and properly fitted shoes with cushioned soles helps absorb the impact to the knees. Athletes should wear protective gear, including knee pads or wraps. Runners should run on soft surfaces, such as grass, instead of concrete or asphalt. Lift properly, especially heavy objects, without placing undue stress on the knees.