One of the most common activity-related injuries of the knee is anterior knee pain. It is a catchall term that refers to diffuse pain in and around the front of the knee. This usually presents itself over time as opposed to a once-off, acute event. Its root is more often than not due to poor posture and biomechanics, or movement patterns, which leads to a progressive increase of strain on certain structures of the knee, causing pain.
What are the symptoms?
- Pain/tenderness in and around the front of the knee
- Pain ascending or descending stairs
- Pain with prolonged sitting
- ‘Grating’ sensation in the knee with weight-bearing
- Feeling of the knee ‘giving way,’ especially going down stairs
- Minimal to no swelling
What is it caused by?
The two most common causes of anterior knee pain are patellofemoral pain syndrome and patella tendinopathy.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to diffuse pain in and around the knee-cap (patella). It usually develops over a period of time and may predispose an individual to develop early osteoarthritis (joint degeneration) if left untreated. The pain most often occurs due to softening of the cartilage behind the knee-cap, medically known as chondromalacia patella, or due to sideways deviation of the knee-cap as it tracks through the knee joint during movement.
Patellar tendinopathy is a tendon injury of the patella tendon located at the front of the knee. A tendon injury usually begins with inflammation and if left untreated, becomes a chronic problem characterised by tendon degeneration. Colloquially known as “jumper’s knee,” it is frequently found to occur in jumping sports like basketball, volleyball, and high, long and triple jumping. However, this condition is not exclusive to jumping sports and can generally occur with any activity that involves repetitive, loaded movement of the quadriceps (thigh muscles).
A Biokineticist will help you diagnose the injury and develop an appropriate plan to address the cause of your injury. This will involve a holistic approach to treatment, assessing your posture, strengths/weaknesses, flexibility and general movement and how they relate to your knee pain. The focus is geared towards addressing the cause of your pain, which when rectified, will reduce the symptoms of your injury. This type of treatment, linked with a Biokineticist’s keen understanding of posture and movement, is vitally important to reduce pain and hopefully delay the use of more invasive treatment such as surgery. Don’t delay in giving your body the attention it deserves in order to move well, move with freedom, reduce joint pain and start to understand your body better.