Complete Balance Physiotherapy

Patellofemoral Pain in Athletes

Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is characterised by generalised pain or tenderness in the front of the knee and is usually aggravated by running, stairs, and squatting. PFP accounts for 33% and 18% of all knee injuries for female and male athletes respectively. PFP in athletes can significantly impact performance and daily activities, making it crucial to understand its causes and contributors. Whether it stems from overuse, acute injury or underlying biomechanical deficits, addressing knee pain quickly and effectively can not only reduce your pain but also improve your athletic performance.

Common contributors to no acute knee pain include:
  • Reduced quadriceps strength
  • Reduced hip strength
  • Reduced landing control or shock absorption
  • Altered running mechanics
However, a thorough assessment is required to determine the key contributing factors (we call them ‘work ons’ at CB Physio) specific to each individual. The PFP consensus statement suggested that hip and knee strength is more effective at reducing PFP and improve activity tolerance in the long-term than knee strengthening alone, taping, manual therapy, or foot orthotics. However, when each of these are combined, physiotherapists were able to reduce PFP and improve activity tolerance in the short and long term. We also know that while patients do see an improvement in pain with general or “cookie cutter” programs, individualised and patient-focused programs saw greater improvements in the short and long term.
An example of what your physiotherapy sessions would look like: Week 1
  • Thorough assessment
  • Variety of in session techniques – hands on pain management (soft tissue work), taping of knee or foot
  • Modifying your activities to keep you in the sport you love but with less pain
  • Home exercise program addressing your specific ‘work ons’
    • Hip strength – hip abductions, crab walks, hip hitches, bridges
    • Knee strength – leg extension, terminal knee extensions, squats
    • Core control – dead bugs, planks
Week 2 – onwards
  • Reassess your work ons
  • Reduce activity modifications as able
  • Assess with AXIT equipment
  • Progress your exercises
    • Hip strength – Side bridges, twistys, hip thrusts
    • Knee strength – Single leg squats, split squats
    • Continue core control – pallof press, dead bugs, planks, v sits
    • Introduce jumping and landing control, controlled plyometrics
Here at Complete Balance Physiotherapy, we are equipped with up-to-date technology that assesses every aspect of your strength and motor control. In collaboration with your physiotherapist, these metrics can help inform an individualised and performance-based rehabilitation program to get you back to your best.

BOOK ONLINE today and see one of our expert physiotherapists to help reduce your knee pain and improve your performance