Understanding Knee Pain
While anyone may be affected, it is most commonly caused by overuse of the knee in sports that involve jumping or running, hence the name "Runner's knee." PFPS is the most common cause of knee pain in the general population, affecting an estimated 25% of adults.
Pressure, swelling, as well as arthritis can result from repeatedly flexing and stretching in a misaligned kneecap. Misalignment of the kneecap (patella) is often secondary to problems in the hip and foot, especially weakness of your gluteal muscles or flat feet.
A dull pain behind the kneecap is caused by PFPS, which is exacerbated by prolonged walking, running, squatting, jumping, stair climbing, or rising from a seated position. The pain is often worse when walking downhill or downstairs. Longstanding misalignment can cause damage to the cartilage, which results in popping, grinding or giving way.
It's crucial to limit activities that cause you pain at first, particularly running, jumping, and activities that put you in a "knock-kneed" position. Don't allow your knees to cross in front of your toes when squatting. Some athletes may need to modify their activity to include swimming or bicycling instead of running.
One of the most important things you can do to help realign the patella, alleviate pain, and avoid recurrence is to do your home exercises regularly. The use of home ice or ice massage applied around your kneecap for 10-15 minutes, several times per day may be helpful.