Snap, crackle, pop. That's what you want to hear in your cereal, not in your knee cap. If it sounds like you have Rice Krispies in your knee, swelling, tenderness on the edge of the knee cap, and aching in the joint, specifically around and under the knee cap, PFPS might be sitting on your doorstep making a nest.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) produces pain at the front of the knee from the patella. This pain generally worsens over time and occurs when the patella (knee cap) does not move correctly when the knee is bent or straightened. The most common type of PFPS is when the outer part of the knee is tight and the inner part of the knee is weak. The tight, outer muscles of the knee pull the knee cap out when moving and the weak, inner muscles are not strong enough to control it. Basically, the outer knee wins in the tug-o-war with an unfair advantage, causing the whole system to fall off kilter and the inner knee to fall in the mud pit.
There can be a number of contributing factors to this condition. One is overworking the knee, whether from constant movement or stress on the joint (constant running and jumping) to too much weight/pressure placed on it (such as during weight lifting). Flat feet can also exacerbate this problem because people with flat feet tend to walk with their feet turned farther outward, which causes the knee to try to compensate and move incorrectly.
So if you have these conditions, you may need to be concerned about PFPS. What can you do? Well, a few things:
Apply RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) following an activity that makes ample use of the knees
Rest some more
Use a knee support
, specifically a patella stabilizing support
See a medical professional who can provide more information about treatment and rehabilitation
As studies show, the best patella support to get is a lower and upper patella strap. The uses of both seem to delay further injury and relieve pain the best, though it is not a solution. It is simply an additional support used in combination with the steps above to treat the condition. It can also be used as a stabilizer and proactive measure if you do not yet have PFPS.
In addition, while medical professionals can subscribe anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce inflammation around the knee cap, you are now putting synthetic chemicals in your body which may reduce inflammation, but who knows what other issues may arise because of it. You may consider eating more Omega-3 fatty acids (which are natural anti-inflammatory nutrients), found in cold water fish, like mackerel, herring and salmon.
And one more thing. Don't discount the value of massage therapy. Not only can it loosen tight muscles, and relieve pain, but it also feels divine.
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