Did you know? The Patella is the only bone in your body that is not connected to any other ligaments.
The patella, or kneecap, is one of three bones, along with the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone), that make up the knee joint. It is important functionally because it increases the leverage of the knee joint. Mechanically, the patella allows for an increase of about 30% in the strength of extension of the leg at the knee joint. Patella problems can be diagnosed on physical examination by a skilled clinician. Sometimes kneecap pain can be difficult for an individual to describe. Often the symptoms occur around the kneecap, but often people will feel it “deep” inside the knee or even in the back of the knee. Damage to the kneecap muscles is a frequent occurrence in those individuals who are involved in activities that requires extensive twisting and bending movements of the knee. Knee pain is experienced more by women as compared to men. All knee pains are not arthritis.
CAUSES There are several common problems associated with the kneecap that can cause problems and pain in the knee:
• Chondromalacia patellae (runner’s knee): The most common disorder is known, chondromalacia, often called runner’s knee. Chondromalacia occurs because of irritation of the cartilage on the under surface of the kneecap. Young athletes, soccer players, cyclists, rowers,tennis players, dancers and runners are the ones who are most often prone to it, because their knees are under great continuous stress, Women and young adults, between 15 to 35 years of age, are found to be at higher risk as compared to men and older population. Apart from this any acute accidental injury like a direct blow, fracture or dislocation of the patella also causes Chondromalacia patella
• Prepatellar bursitis: It is a condition of swelling and inflammation over the front of the knee. This is commonly seen in patients who kneel for extended periods, such as plumbers, roofers, carpet layers, coal miners and gardeners . Athletes who participate in sports such as football, wrestling, or basketball, in which direct blows or falls on the knee are common, are at greater risk for the condition. People with rheumatoid arthritis or gout are also susceptible to this condition. Prepatellar bursitis can also be caused by a bacterial infection. If a knee injury such as an insect bite, scrape, or puncture wound breaks the skin, bacteria may get inside the bursa sac and cause an infection
• Patellar subluxation: Also called an unstable kneecap, patients who experience this painful knee condition have a patella that does not track evenly within its groove on the femur. Any extreme activity or contact sport can cause a patellar subluxation. This mainly affect young and active people, especially between the ages of 10 to 20 years. Most first-time injuries occur during sports
• Kneecap dislocation: When the kneecap comes completely out of its groove, the condition is called a patella dislocation. When the it dislocates, it must be put back into its groove. This can be caused due to direct trauma to the knee, excessive pressure from movement, weak leg muscles, exceptionally tall height, misaligned or elevated patella, prior injury
• Patellar tendon tear: Patellar tendon tears are serious injuries when the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin is ruptured. Direct impact to the front of the knee from a fall or other blow is a common cause of tears. The patellar tendon usually tears when the knee is bent and the foot planted, like when landing from a jump or jumping up
TREATMENT For more information, and for a diagnosis of your knee pain, it is important to see your doctor under the following conditions:
• If knee pain is severe or lasts for more than 48 hours
• In the swelling is sudden or lasts for more than 48 hours
• If there was a loud popping noise at the time of an injury
• The knee is unstable or cannot bear weight
• If the knee is physically deformed
• If the knee locks with movement
EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN THE PATELLA • Static quadriceps contraction: Lie comfortably on a bed, or the floor, with your affected leg straight. Bend the knee that you are not exercising. Pull the foot back towards you and press the back of the knee down .Your heel may lift off the bed. Hold for a count of 5 seconds and relax
• Clam exercise: Lying on your side with hips and knees bent and knees together, raise your top knee toward the ceiling, keeping your feet together. Hold and then slowly lower your knee. Repeat several times on both sides. You can also use Resistance Bands to help you to do it effectively
• Lunge: Tape the knee to avoid pain if necessary. With one foot in front of the other and the injured knee in front, the front knee is bent enough to feel the vastus medialis working. Aim to keep the knee pointing forwards – don’t let it fall inwards. Return to starting position and repeat. Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions
PREVENTIONS You can help prevent Patella or Knee Cap pain by following these simple recommendations: • Wear kneepads if you work on your knees or participate in contact sports such as football, basketball, or wrestling • Rest your knees regularly by stopping to stretch your legs. You may also consider switching activities on a regular basis to avoid prolonged stress on your knees • Apply ice and elevate your knees after a workout “Motion is Life” which is why physical activity and vitality should always be a part of your life. Vissco’s Orthopaedic range of Knee Supports, Knee Cap and Knee Brace, Vissco Active Insta Cold Gel Packs and Refreezable Cold Packs and Vissco Flex-Resistance Bands will help you bounce back from pain to your peak performance.