Janet Arribas DO

Bahay Medical

917 982 2517

Office Hours by Appointment Only:160 Broadway, Floor 16
 New York, NY 10038

Rehabilitation for Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome, also known as chondromalacia patella, is a painful knee condition caused by a degeneration of the cartilage in the kneecap, which may be caused by overuse, injury, obesity or malalignment of the kneecap. While this condition can affect anyone, it is most common in athletes and people who put heavy stress on their knees. Individuals with patellofemoral syndrome experience knee pain that gets worse when the knee is bent, especially when sitting or squatting, and during most physical activity.

Commonly referred to as "runner's knee", this condition is often initially treated at home with simple techniques that include rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may also be effective in controlling pain and swelling, especially in combination with the application of ice packs.

Physical therapy is an essential part of a rehabilitation program for patellofemoral syndrome, designed to restore movement, strength, and flexibility to the knee. Initially, a physical therapist guides the patient in exercises to stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps and the back of the calf muscles. Eventually, muscle strengthening exercises may be introduced to strengthen the surrounding muscles of the:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hips
  • Legs

Weight bearing activities and balance training may also introduced as the muscles become stronger. In addition to exercise, patellar taping and orthotics (shoe inserts) may be recommended to provide support and alleviate pain during physical activity. Depending on the severity of the condition, a rehabilitation program may last from 6 to 8 weeks.

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Dr. Janet Arribas, DO