Pain under knee cap?

Pain under knee cap is a very common presentation. It is usually felt in front or under the knee cap and is caused by swelling behind the knee cap (patella). This pain can prevent maintaining a normal exercise routine as well as interfere with daily activities. If you experience knee pain around the knee cap, it is important to know what the warning signs are and when to seek Physiotherapy treatment.

There is pain on climbing or descending stairs and hills, after prolonged sitting with knees bent, during squats, lunges, running and starting a new exercise program. Swelling and muscle weakness often accompany pain. It is more common in women aged between 30-50 years .


Knee pain

Causes of pain around knee cap

Many factors can cause knee pain with increased activity and loading. Some of the most common causes are as below:

  • Poor movement form while doing certain exercises eg. running/squatting

    A lot of people run as a way of staying fit. However, it is possible to run incorrectly and end up hurting your knee. It’s very important to learn the right technique especially if you are a long distance runner to prevent knee injuries.

  • Muscle imbalance: Overworking some muscles while ignoring others.

    This usually happens in a gym scenario. In order to get the right look and bulky muscles, people may over train one muscle group. For example, it is quite easy to just focus on ‘Quads’ and not focus on the hamstring as much. This can lead to an imbalance causing injuries.

  • Poor foot alignment: rolling in at your ankle causes rotation at the shin.

    Are you flat footed? Or walk with a pigeon toe? Beware! This can cause excessive rotation of the shin bone eventually pushing the knee cap towards the outside. It is important to get the right arch support.

  • Poor hip control due to weakness of buttock muscles

    If you have suffered an injury to the ankle,knee or hip, it can weaken the gluteal muscles. These are muscles that stabilize our pelvis when we walk. Chronic injuries can also cause weakness in these muscles.

  • Tight Iliotibilial Band or ITB

    ITB or Iliotibial band is literally a band of tissue that extends from the hip right to the knee cap. Tightness in this band due to any of the above factors can pull the knee cap to towards the outside. This in turn results in pain. This is a whole new condition on it’s own and we have written another article on the treatment of this condition. We encourage you to have a read.

How to treat pain under knee cap?

First of all it’s important to get a Physio assessment about the cause of your pain. According to Australian Physiotherapy Association, Physios can accurately diagnose your condition. Physiotherapists at Get Better Physiotherapy centre can completely diagnose the problem and let you know exactly what’s causing it. Once the diagnosis is made, the right treatment can follow.

Next, it’s important to get it treated asap! This is so the pain does not stop you from doing your daily activities. Once the pain settles down, it is then extremely important to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Your Physio will guide you regarding the right exercise to do at the right time. It is important to progress slowly and get back into exercising gradually to avoid re occurrence of pain