Treatment Plan for Patellofemoral Syndrome – Positive Progress!
As many of you know, I have been struggling with my knee injury, patellofemoral syndrome, for a long period of time without too much success. Recently, my orthopedist completely revised my treatment plan and finally I have seen positive progress. Many people have asked me about my treatment and what has worked for my injury, so I’d like to share my experience.
Before I go on, patellofemoral pain syndrome or “jumper’s knee” is a condition where your patella (back of your kneecap) is grinding against the femur (thigh bone). This could be caused by a number of reasons including overuse and misalignment of the knee cap. In my case, it’s a combination of both, because I was training aggressively and I have a natural tendency for knock knees. The incident that started all this was when my pointe class went from 30 minutes to 1 hour and this was directly after 1.5hrs of flat. Immediately after that my knees were inflamed and in pain. To complicate the situation, I also had bilateral patellofemoral pain skin sensitivity regional pain syndrome. This is when the nerves interpret the pain signal more loudly.
Note: Because we implemented this new treatment plan all at once, I can’t isolate which treatments were truly helpful, but as a whole this new plan has helped. I also do not claim that this will work for you, but if you have a similar injury check with your orthopedist/doctor/physical therapist to see if any of these options will work for you.
My New Treatment Plan for Patellofemoral Syndrome:
- Add Foot Support in my Shoes – SUPERfeet is foot support insole that you place in your shoes. The main benefit of SUPERfeet is it helps with shock absorption and stability for your feet and my knees. After replacing my sneaker’s normal insoles with the SUPERfeet, walking up and down stairs did feel easier. So for me, this is a keeper! Cost: $31-$34Pictures of SUPERfeet inserted into my New Balance Sneakers
- Acupuncture treatments with a twist – Acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine where needles are inserted into your skin to relieve pain and other ailments. The twist is this has been modernized. After my 1st treatment, the needles were hooked up to an electrode machine so it was electro stimulus + acupuncture. The sessions take about 1 hour with 1 hour of rest afterwards, so in total it takes out about 2 hours of my day. The first session was very hard on me. My legs felt very heavy and I felt immobile, but I decided to stick with it. I’ve continued this once every week.
- Diclofenac to Control Pain + Glucosamine Chondroitin, and Fish Oil for additional Nutrition – I take 2 pills of diclofenac, 1 glucosamine, 1 fish oil, 1 centrum and sometimes 1 tylenol if the pain is especially worse. I feel like a druggy taking so many pills a day. I could open my own pharmacy! This is a lot better than before when I was taking 8 advil a day.Diclofenac is a prescription strength non steroid anti-inflammatory drug to reduce inflammation and pain basically a stronger version of advil. Glucosamine Chondroitin is a supplement that helps with the repair of cartilage. The theory is that patellofemoral syndrome is related to the degradation of the cartilage and that glucasamine chondroitin is one of the building blocks of cartilage repair it would help. Fish Oil contains omega-3’s that can help with inflammation.
- Empi TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) Unit to Control Pain – This is a small device that gives you an electro stimulus to block pain. I place it on my knees for 15 – 30 minutes at a time. It was weird the first time I tried it. I would describe it as a zapping feeling or static electricity. The unit did seem to help with pain relief immediately after using it, but it seems to be only a short term effect. It doesn’t “cure” my issue. For more information see Empi’s electrical stimulus therapy article. Amazon offers a TENS unit by LG for $34.99.Pictures of Me Using Empi TENS Unit on my Knees
- Continued Physical Therapy with the addition of Aquatic Physical Therapy – A combination of stretching 3 times a day, hamstring/quadriceps strengthening 5 times a week, and walking in water. If you’d like to see more details on this, please let me know and I can share more photos and information on the exercises.Pictures of hamstring/quadriceps strengthening exercises
- Eat more Protein – Healing requires an additional source of protein. I can’t quantify exactly how much. My nutritionist suggested that I needed more so I’ve actively tried to eat 7-14g more protein a day. Speak with your nutritionist before you make any changes to your diet.
- and of course… rest – rest – rest!
- If you’d like to hear more about any parts of my treatment plan, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your question in the comments section. I’d be more than happy to talk to you more about my experience.