Patellofemoral syndrome

What is patellofemoral syndrome? This is a question that we hear quite often at OSR Physical Therapy!

Patellofemoral syndrome means that your kneecap is not staying in line with thigh when you perform activities like walking, stair climbing, running, squatting, lunging, and jumping.

Think of your kneecap (aka patella) like a train. Think of your thigh (aka femur) like a set of railroad tracks. The train needs to stay centered on the tracks while you perform activities.

While traditional physical therapy focuses on strengthening your VMO (aka vastus medialis) and providing orthotics (shoe inserts), we use a more comprehensive sports medicine approach at OSR.

As suggested at the annual Cincinnati Sport Medicine Conference, the focus needs to be on the hip, not so much at the knee cap. Therefore, we assess the hip, knee, ankle, foot, and even core for muscle imbalances. Once we find those imbalances, we create a comprehensive custom treatment plan to resolve the muscle imbalances and retrain how you are performing the activities that were provoking the pain.

Most of the time, we find that we focus much more on how the “train track” works, and then the “train” just needs a little fine tuning so you can enjoy activities again!

Here is a video of one “train track alignment” exercise that we find almost everyone benefits from at some point in time:

Have questions or comments? Leave us a post!

This article was written by Meredith Butulis, DPT, who works at our Eden Prairie office.