Learn to Prevent Knee Pain by Understanding Risk Factors
Although Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) represents the most common form of knee pain previous knee research has focused primarily on ligament injury and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. PFPS, often referred to as "Runner's Knee" is typically understood to be a type of tendinopathy characterized by pain and inflammation around the front of the knee cap. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine researchers report findings of multiple biomechanical risk factors that may be modified to prevent PFPS.
Nearly 1600 participants from the US Naval Academy were tracked for up to 2.5 years beginning in July 2005. Researchers collected baseline data on all participants. Initial testing evaluated jump-landing characteristics using 3-D motion capture, lower body isometric strength, and lower extremity structural alignment.
It was determined that the following factors contribute to the development of PFPS including poor quadriceps flexibility, increased pronation or excessive hip internal rotation during landing from a jump, weak quadriceps and hamstrings, excessively strong hip external rotators, and increased navicular drop representative of weak arches.
By including these factors in a pre-participation screening for individuals with a history of PFPS an effective prevention strategy may be developed. Individuals with current PFPS, however, should be referred to a medical professional for evaluation.
Boling, M.C. et al (2009) A Prospective Investigation of Biomechanical Risk Factors for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. American Journal of Sports Medicine.