Knee Pains – Patella Femoral Disorder

Background

During my growing years at about twelve years old, I started developing knee pains that were put down as ‘growing pains’. I was given some bizarre exercises from a ‘specialist’ at the time which I now realize probably wasn’t the best advise.

Symptoms

Running and walking often caused a burning pain at the front of the knee and occasional locking of the knee cap when extending the leg during cycling.

I recall my shoes wearing down on one side of the sole and sometimes my knees hitting against each other during track events when my legs began to fatigue.

Cause

I now know that I was suffering from Patella femoral tracking disorder, essentially as I walked or ran, my feet would roll in slightly and as a consequence my lower leg would rotate inwards, however due to my skinny vastus medialis obliqus  VMO (inner thigh muscles) the knee cap was not kept in its proper place as it glided against the femoral groove (thigh bone joint). This irritation caused inflammation and pain that persisted for many years and became particularly painful when using the clutch pedal during driving to the extent that the knee would swell and I would use anti-inflammatory sports gel to ease the pain.

Treatment

My insoles are designed to control the ‘rolling inwards’ or pronation of my heel and midfoot during ground contact and keep my foot, ankle knee and hips in a better alignment. Strengthening exercises in conjunction with the orthotics have helped to strengthen the weaker VMO muscle.

Outcome

My knee cap does grate when I bend and straighten my knee and I know the damage has been done, but I certainly don’t experience the pain I used to have. I try to explain this to youngsters and their parents in my clinic how important it is to solve the underlying problem early to prevent problems in later life.