If you have pain at the front of your knee or if the pain feels like it is coming from behind the kneecap, you might be suffering from a condition called Patellofemoral Joint Syndrome (PFJS).
PFJS, also commonly known as Runner’s knee, is one of the most common forms of knee pain and can occur in people of all ages. This condition involves the Patellofemoral joint, which is the articulating surface at the back of the Patella (kneecap) and the front of the Femur (thigh bone).
The Patella is a special type of bone called a Sesamoid bone. It grows from within a tendon and functions a pully to ensure proper movement of the knee. The Patella sits on a groove on the Femur and is suspended in position by surrounding muscles, tendons and fascia. In an ideal world, as you move your knee during walking or running, the Patella slides up and down along this groove allowing for an uninterrupted smooth movement.
Having said that, due to the nature of a Sesamoid bone, should any of the structures suspending the Patellar in place be overly tight or too weak, maltracking of the Patella would occur. Although this might not sound like much, a misaligned Patella in combination with repeated use of the knee would mean additional rubbing of the Patella against the sides of the Femoral groove. This would result in irritation to the back of the Patella arising to possible inflammation and pain.
In most circumstances, the two main culprits causing the maltracking are the Iliotibial band (ITB) and the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO). Stay tuned with our next post, as we will be touching on some ways you could strengthen or release the ITB and VMO at home!