The most common type of knee pain that affects Australians is known as ‘Patellofemoral pain syndrome,’ which is just a technical term that describes knee pain around and behind the kneecap. Typically patients suffering with Patellofemoral pain syndrome experience kneecap pain that develops gradually over time and is aggravated with everyday activities such as: walking up and down stairs, squatting and/or kneeling down to pick things up.
The most common cause of Patellofemoral knee pain is a muscle imbalance of the quadriceps (quads) muscles which are found on the front of the thigh. These muscles attach to the kneecap and when they contract each muscle has a pulling effect on the kneecap. With this type of knee pain we often see the inner quadricep muscle being weak and the outer quadriceps muscles being overly tight causing a muscle imbalance around the knee. This muscle imbalance produces an abnormal pull on the kneecap which drags the kneecap out of its groove during activities that require the knee to bend.
When the kneecap does not travel through its groove properly while the knee is bending, friction can develop between the kneecap and the thigh bone (Femur) that resides under it. This friction between the kneecap and thigh bone often results in knee pain that is felt around and behind the kneecap.
When treating knee pain related to Patellofemoral syndrome we use acupuncture to clear inflammation in the knee and to help correct the muscle imbalance of the quadriceps muscles. With acupuncture we are able to encourage the weaker inner quadricep muscle to activate and help the tight outer quadriceps muscles to relax. This treatment approach encourages the kneecap to travel in its groove during knee bending and reduces friction between the kneecap and thigh bone.
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Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Practitioner