Knee pain is a common problem and there are a number of different causes of knee pain. If you experience a sharp pain or a grinding sensation at the front of your knee joint you probably have Patello-femoral Syndrome. Another term for Patello-femoral pain is Runner’s Knee.
Symptoms of knee pain
Patello-femoral Syndrome (PFS) is the most common form of knee pain and causes pain between the knee cap (patella) and the underlying thigh bone (femur). Pain is usually felt in the front of your knee, also known as anterior knee pain. Patello-femoral pain, also known as ‘theatre goers knee’, can cause your knee to become stiff and sore when you sit for long periods. Others of you may experience a grinding or crunching sensation in your knee joint.
What causes knee pain?
Knee pain can be caused by many things including sports injuries, over pronation, or wear and tear as a result of ageing. Normally your knee cap glides smoothly over your knee during movement. However, if your cartilage becomes damaged and rough your knee cap will rub and grind against your thigh bone (femur). This constant grinding leads to partial or complete erosion of the knee cartilage causing pain and swelling.
Years of strenuous activities such as football, soccer, running or netball can affect your knees and exacerbate the erosion of knee cartilage. You may have incurred an impact whilst playing sport which has damaged your knee joint. Alternatively you may suffer from over pronation, a common problem if you have flat feet, which in turn causes your leg to rotate inwards placing pressure on your knee joint and the surrounding muscles. Alternatively, over the years the cartilage behind your knee cap may have softened and worn out, resulting in small areas of soft tissue breakdown and tearing.
Knee pain and Orthotic therapy
Apart from injury and age, faulty biomechanics play an important role in knee pain. The way you walk and the position of your feet and ankles have a profound effect on your legs, knees, hips and lower back. About 70% of the population have a condition called over-pronation. This means that the arches are lowered when the foot lands during walking and the ankles tend to roll inwards. Over-pronation not only affects the feet, it also causes your lower leg to rotate including your knee.
When your foot rolls inwards due to over-pronation, the lower legrotates, placing increased stress on your knee joint, resulting in poor knee function. This will inevitably lead to excessive wear and tear to your knee cartilage, causing long-term damage and chronic pain. Orthotics are very effective in correcting the motion of your feet, supporting your arch and limiting the internal rotation of your knee which can cause patella femoral syndrome.
Knee pain treatment
Whilst it is important to strengthen the muscles in your quadriceps to control the movement of your knee, it is equally important to make sure that your feet are not over pronating. Our podiatrists will assess your biomechanics before treating your knee pain. They will advise you if your feet need correcting and prepare a treatment plan which may include muscle strengthening exercises to realign your knee, appropriate footwear for your particular sport, and orthotic therapy to correct the motion of your feet.
If you would like more information on how to treat knee pain in Melbourne please contact our Brunswick or Sandringham Foot Clinic for more information.