Sport and fitness injury - Female runner with hurting knee. Running woman screaming in pain during run wearing a smartwatch. Painful joint during workout.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Sport and fitness injury - Female runner with hurting knee. Running woman screaming in pain during run wearing a smartwatch. Painful joint during workout.

What is it?

One of the most common knee complaints seen in our clinic is Patellofemoral pain syndrome which is usually characterised by pain in the front of the knee. Associated with a gradual onset of knee pain often (but not always) a recent increase in walking, running or bending activities but not routinely seen with a specific incident to the knee.

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Cause:

The main cause of this condition is due to mal-tracking of the patella (knee cap) as it moves in front on the knee joint while bending the knee. However the reasons behind why this mal-tracking occurs are more complex and can be due to a multitude of factors. Some of the main findings leading to this condition tend to be; weakness of the muscles around the knee, tightness of the muscles around the knee (most commonly the Iliotibial band (ITB) and vastus lateralis(VL)), poor control and weakness of gluteal muscles, poor foot posture and/or stiffness or the patella (knee cap).

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Symptoms:

It is usually reported as a gradual onset of dull aching pain and mostly associated with activities that include repetitive bending of the knees such as:

  • Knee pain with prolonged sitting (“Movie goers knee”)
  • Knee pain with ascending/descending stairs or hills
  • Knee pain with running/walking
  • Pain with Squatting activities
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Generally people respond well to physiotherapy management of patellofemoral pain which will include a physio assessing the knee involved and determining the contributing factors, which are varied between individuals. As previously mentioned the main problem can be from an area away from the knee and involve the hip or the foot, more commonly a combination of all three.  Treatment techniques and management strategies may include:

  • Soft Tissue massage
  • Patella Mobilisation
  • Dry Needling
  • Taping techniques or other supportive devices (which can keep you training or playing while the imbalances are being managed)
  • Orthotics
  • Assessment and alteration of running/ squatting technique if contributing to the condition
  • Home exercise program to correct any strength, flexibility or control problems contributing to your pain.

 

Prevention:

A phrase which holds up when talking about patellofemoral pain is “prevention is better than a cure”. Often the imbalances that lead to this condition are already present so if you are thinking of starting up a new exercise regime it is a good time to see if your body is able to handle it. At Enhance physio we now offer Lower Limb Biomechanical Assessments which might help pick up a weakness before it becomes pain.

If you or anyone you know is suffering knee pain that sounds like Patellofemoral pain or any other knee pain call Enhance Physiotherapy on 9583 5165.

Tim

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8 Tips for Staying Fit while Travelling!

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I love travelling. I love flying to new places I have never been and exploring cities and cultures that are unfamiliar to me. However, when on holidays I struggle to find the time (and motivation) to exercise, and it doesn’t help when you are stuck sitting on a plane for 10+hours. Visiting a new area usually always involves a packed agenda of things to see and places to eat, and before you know it, your 2-week holiday is finished and all you did was sit, drink, sleep, and eat.

Here are my 8 ways to stay active during your holidays away:

  1. Explore by foot or bike.  Walk or cycle around town and explore the different shops and restaurants in the area. This is a good way to get to know your surroundings and perhaps discover things you may want to come back to see or do later in your trip. Adventuring around can also lead to new experiences or discoveries that no TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet could have ever suggested.
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  1. If you are in a hotel with multiple floors, take the stairs rather than elevator. If you are extra keen, start each morning with a quick 15 minute stair climb.
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  1. Look up hikes around the area. Depending on where in the world you are, typically there will be a hike or at least trail walk somewhere close by. This is a great way to not only get outdoors, but to truly experience and take in the landscape, seascape or cityscape that is surrounding you.
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  1. Use nature as your gym and try a new activity that is common in that area. For example paddleboarding, kayaking, or surfing in warmer climate areas or snow shoe walking, skiing, or skating if you are visiting winter weather.
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  1. Pack a skipping rope or yoga mat. Skipping is a great way to add some cardio into your day and does not require much space, and a light yoga mat can easily be folded and packed into your luggage for morning or night time stretching.
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  1. Use the hotel gym or pool. Easier said than done, but if you know you have access to either, then you can plan ahead to schedule into your week some time for yourself. Swimming is a good way to stay fit and keep your cardio up for a runner who doesn’t have access to a treadmill or outdoors (think snowy, icy winter in Canada…). If swimming isn’t your thing, exercises in the pool are still a great way to work your muscles.
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  1. Use your body weight to train. When access to equipment is limited, using our own bodies is one of the best ways to stay fit. Quick 30 minute workouts in your hotel room is all you need. Here are a few of my body weight exercise suggestions:

 

-Plank holds (aim 30 seconds to 1 minute)

-Push ups (aim 15-20 repetitions)

-Squat (aim 20 repetitions)

-Burpees (aim 10-15 repetitions)

-Triceps dips using chair (aim 15-20 repetitions)

-Crunches (aim 20 repetitions)

-Mountain climbers (aim for 1 minute)

Repeat each exercise 3 times.

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  1. Start saving online exercises and videos before your trip. With the way the fitness world and technology are developing today, there are plenty of resources out there that provide quick (but efficient) body weight exercise programs that can easily be completed in situations where there is a lack of space, time, and equipment. Outlets like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and even Instagram, have tons of videos and websites with exercise ideas. When I come across any I find interesting, I immediately save for future use.

 

There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your holidays and stay fit while on the road. I know holidays are always jammed packed with things to do, but all you need is 30 minutes a day. Just remember to keep moving and exploring because if you don’t use it, you will lose it. But most importantly, listen to your body. Travelling long distances can also lead to jet lag and fatigue so if you are really feeling tired then rest, relax, eat healthy, and rejuvenate yourself to try again the next day!

Stef

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The benefits of clinical pilates

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In the last 10 years or so, Clinical Pilates has made its way into the lives of thousands of people, from those who want to keep fit or begin a safe fitness regime, to those who have undergone surgery or who are undertaking rehabilitation to best manage their medical conditions or injuries.

Clinical Pilates is a system of safe and effective exercises which meet your specific individual needs, when tailored by your Physiotherapist. It focuses on building strength in your deeper layer of abdominal muscles, your deep supportive spinal muscles and your hip/pelvic musculature. All of which improve your core strength, balance and stability.  Building a strong core foundation will allow your body to function at a higher capacity, improve your posture and reduce the incidence of pain and injury.

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Clinical Pilates is also used by elite athletes of all disciplines, including dancers to improve essential movement patterns and enhance fitness and performance, as well as assisting with injury prevention.  By working into your body’s preferred movement, Clinical Pilates improves your mobility, stability, balance, posture and overall function.

Now that we know Clinical Pilates can meet the needs of all individuals, here are some of the main benefits as recognised in the field of research:

  • Tones Muscles
  • Increases bone density
  • Improves your mobility
  • Improves balance reaction times
  • Improves the quality of movement, agility and flexibility
  • Prevents injury
  • Helps to resolve spinal pain or limb pain
  • Improves core stability and pelvic floor function.
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Tones Muscles & Increases bone density

Each exercise is working against the resistance of springs or body weight, thereby stimulating the production of cells to produce more bone in response to the controlled stressed placed on the skeleton.

Improves your mobility

Our walking and physical function are determined by our body’s ability to recruit our muscles in a specific, refined and efficient manner.  When we are reinforcing better muscle recruitment patterns, our body will be move more efficiently allowing greater mobility when walking, running, swimming or in any physical activity.

Improves the quality of movement, balance, agility and flexibility

There are exercises in Clinical Pilates that have different focuses, while still engaging the core muscles. There are dynamic movements to test and train your reflexes that will translate to improved reaction times, therefore assisting your balance and agility. Other exercises work specific muscle groups to the end of range thereby improving your flexibility. Finally, by controlling the motion, Clinical Pilates can fine tune the muscles to recruit in an optimised pattern.

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Injury Prevention

Clinical Pilates helps to resolve muscle imbalances that we may have by exercising in a balanced manner, thereby reducing the risk of injury to the body. With better use of core muscles to stabilise the trunk, our limbs have a more stable platform from which to operate and therefore reducing the risk of peripheral injury.

Resolution of Spinal and limb pain

A lot of spinal pain is attributed to the “bracing” or excessive contractions of our spinal muscles, thereby compressing the structures that are injured, inflammed and swollen, thereby causing increased pain. With better control of muscles around the trunk and pelvis and with more normal activation of muscles around these structures, we can eliminate pain from the spine.

Clinical Pilates is also used to rehabilitate the limbs, helping to tone and strengthen and therefore aid in the recovery of pain and injury.

Improved core stability and pelvic floor function

The technique used to engage the core muscles during the movement of Clinical Pilates also engages the pelvic floor muscles. The regular recruitment of these muscles enables them to strengthen.  Each exercise repeatedly targets the contraction of specific muscle groups and therefore tones the muscles that are recruited in the exercises.

In summary, there are many benefits in the use of Clinical Pilates for your body. For more information, speak with your treating Physiotherapist today.

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About The Author: Sophie is a Physiotherapist from Drysdale in Victoria. She owns and operates the clinic Fresh Start Physiotherapy.