Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Discharge Care) Care Guide
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Aftercare Instructions
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Discharge Care
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Inpatient Care
- En Espanol
- Patellofemoral (pah-tel-o-FEM-or-al) pain syndrome, also called PFPS, is a condition marked by pain under or around the patella (kneecap). The patella moves in different directions and may come into contact with the femur (thigh bone) when moving the knee. PFPS may happen due to frequent contact and rubbing of the patella on the femur. It may also happen when the patella gets out of place. PFPS may be a result of having a flat foot or a high-arched foot. Tight or weak thigh muscles may also increase your chance of having PFPS.
- You may have knee pain that is worse when going up or down the stairs, squatting, running, or cycling. Pain may also happen if you sit for a long time with the knees bent. You may have crepitus (creaking) and sudden swelling in the knee, or feel your knee is giving way. Your caregiver may check for PFPS by looking for any abnormal knee movements. A computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an x-ray, or arthroscopy may also be done. Treatment aims to ease pain, keeping the patella in the correct position with the femur, and preventing further problems. Treatment may include resting the knee, using assistive devices, medicines, rehabilitation, and surgery. With treatment, you may be able to fully recover and continue your normal daily activities.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.Start exercising when caregivers say that it is OK. Do not do more than what your caregiver tells you to do.
Ice causes blood vessels to constrict (get small) which helps decrease swelling, pain, and redness. Put crushed ice in a plastic bag and wrap it with a towel. Put the ice bag over the knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it. If ice is put on the injured area for too long or if it is slept on, it may cause frostbite.
The most important part of treating PFPS is resting your knee while it heals. Resting your knee as much as possible will decrease swelling and keep the pain from getting worse. When the pain decreases, slowly begin normal movements. Avoid doing heavy lifting and weight-bearing activities. If pain occurs with prolonged sitting, you may straighten your leg or walk once in a while.
- Caregivers may give you special shoe inserts or arch supports to correct foot problems. Always use proper footwear and replace shoes often.
- Caregivers may want you to wear a knee brace or a knee sleeve to help support your patella. This will also help protect your knee and keep it from moving too much so it can heal. You may also tape your knee to ease pain and decrease swelling. Ask your caregiver for more information and instructions on wearing a knee brace, knee sleeve, or taping the knee.
- You may need to use crutches to decrease stress and strain on your knee. It is important to use crutches correctly. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to use crutches.
For more information:
Having a patellofemoral pain syndrome may be hard. Contact the following for more information:
- American Academy of Family Physicians
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood , KS 66211-2680
Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
Web Address: http://www.aafp.org
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
6300 North River Road
Rosemont , IL 60018-4262
Phone: 1- 847 - 823-7186
Web Address: http://www.aaos.org/
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You feel your knee brace or sleeve is too tight.
- You have questions or concerns about your injury, medicine, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your knee becomes more unstable or wobbly.
- Your pain and swelling has returned or increased after taking your pain medicine.
- Your symptoms are not getting better.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.