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Knee Pain from exercise?

Knee pain in those who exercise is about as common as, well, the common cold. It can be very debilitating, sometimes leading to significant changes in lifestyle and outlook. But what is it? Why does it happen? Most importantly what can be done about it?


First, the more anatomically correct name for this type of knee pain is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). The PF refers to the relationship between the kneecap (patella) and the bottom of the thigh bone (femur). In its simplest terms, the kneecap has a central ridge that sits and glides in a grove made by two ridges (trochlea) on either side of the end of the thigh bone. This gliding mechanism may be disturbed.


There is cartilage lining the underside of the patella and on the surface of the trochlea. This provides for a friction free gliding surface. This may become frayed with age.


The reason for the generalised name for the pain is that there are a number of locations where pain can be felt and these come from various structures that cross the knee and are closely associated or actually attached to the kneecap.


Generally PFPS can occur due to one of the following:

  • overtraining: increasing the amount of training you are doing too quickly

  • muscle imbalance at the knee, on the front and back of the thigh

  • tension in the muscles of the lower leg (shin)

  • muscle weakness at the hip

  • the way the foot interacts with the ground/surface

  • trauma, like a trip and fall.


The knee is sometimes referred to as a hanging joint: it hangs between the solid ground and the normally strong pelvis and what happens at either end can significantly influence what happens at the knee leading to pain and dysfunction and even some rather disturbing noises, known as crepitus.


Management of a knee like this takes a bit of patience and time but also belief that there is, in all likelihood, no damage to the knee, even if the noises emanating from it may imply otherwise.


If you are suffering from knee pain that seems to be related to exercise, then an assessment by us could help you to understand both the nature and possible causes. We can help manage it through manual therapy and exercise prescription and we can educate you on how to reduce the likelihood of it coming back.


For more info or to book an appointment send us an email or call on our mobiles.

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