Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is the name for pain arising from when the knee cap or patella grinds in its groove at the knee joint. This grinding movement often leads to pain in activities like running or dancing and is a common cause of a clicking sound from the knee joint. It is important to remember that not every click at the knee is a sign of disease, a non painful click at a non painful knee is a very, very normal occurance.
What causes it?
PFPS is most often cause by and imbalance in the tension of the quadriceps muscle that arises from the hip and travels down too the knee cap. If the quadriceps fibres at the inner edge of the patella pull more than the fibres at the outer edge you get more tension and more grinding during movement. If the patella moves too far away from its groove it will often click and with extreme forces may even dislocate. It is a common syndrome in long distance runners and gym junkies who overdo their back squats and their deadlifts.
What can you do to fix it?
If you have been diagnosed with PFPS then you will most likely need some rehabilitation exercises. The best thing you can do is usually hip strengthening exercises. If you get your hip strong and moving correctly a natural consequnce is good muscle balance at the knee. A good yoga or pilates class will often include many exercises for the hip and the core. A manual therapist like a chiropractor may be able to release chonically contracted muscle fibres and will be able to provide a tailored exercise program to restore proper movement.