Patellofemoral Syndrome after Playing Basketball

Patient

Q: A couple weeks ago I hurt my knee playing basketball. It swelled up mostly on the other parts of me right knee (the right side mostly). I haven been icing it, elavating it, and compressing it, but I cant bend it back all the way. Sometimes, when I stand up and twist my leg there is a grinding feeling. Could this be torn cartiledge, or just a torn tendon?

Doctor

A:   In your case, the injury that you sustained could cause an unbalanced muscle pull that produced excessive pressure or leverage forces on the patellofemoral joint surfaces. The difficulty in flexing the knee along with the grinding feeling that you described are a common presentation of the Patellofemoral Syndrome, which is produced by an impairment affecting the patella and femur joint.
 
The suggested strategy should be: strengthening and stretching the main muscle of the thigh: quadriceps, to restore the muscle balance around the knee joint, for this is indicated physical therapy for 6 to 8 weeks, using ice packs at the end of the exercise routine to decrease pain and swelling. The use of soft knee braces helps to control patella position and restrict full knee flexion which is good to ease the pain. Also, and very important, the activities or sports that require frequent squatting must be avoided until the pain is under control. If there is a limited response to the treatment, and locking or instability of the affected knee are noticed, then an orthopedic surgeon evaluation must be considered.

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