My knee is sore when I walk up and down stairs? What is wrong with me?


It is most likely that you have a condition called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS).

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or PFPS – knee cap pain) is the term used to describe pain that is coming from the joint between your kneecap (patella) and your thigh bone (femur), or the soft tissues around it. This joint is called the patellofemoral joint and it is at the front of your knee.

The pain that occurs in PFPS is caused by increased or abnormal loading through the patellofemoral joint, which can arise due to a number of factors as follows:

  • Faulty Kneecap position
  • Quadriceps muscle imbalances around the knee
  • Biomechanical factors including hip, knee, shin and foot postures and movements
  • Decreased lower limb flexibility


Symptoms of PFPS:


Symptoms of PFPS include:

  • Generalised pain at the front of your knee
  • Pain that comes on with running (particularly down hills), going up and down stairs, hopping, squatting, lunging.
  • Clicking or grating under your kneecap with movement
  • Small amounts of swelling around your kneecap


Assessment of Your PFPS (Knee Cap Pain):


Your All Care Physiotherapist will ask you a series of questions about the symptoms, onset and behavior of your pain, your occupation and any history of knee pain you may have. They will then complete a comprehensive assessment to determine factors contributing to your knee pain. This may include assessment of your:

  • Posture
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Squatting, lunging or hopping
  • Range of movement in your hips, knees and ankles
  • Specific joint movements in your knee
  • Lower limb muscle strength
  • Lower limb muscle length


Treatment for PFPS:


The good news is that Physiotherapy can help improve your pain and also address the underlying factors that contributed to development of you knee pain in the first place. Treatment often includes:

  • Advice and education on your condition, what to do to improve your pain and how to stop it from becoming worse
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Muscle strengthening programs
  • Taping
  • Orthotics


What can you do to help yourself? Here are some great exercises to start with.


Wall squats with a ball in between your knees:

  1. Stand against a wall with your feet about 30cm away from the wall, and a ball between your knees.
  2. Squeeze the ball between your knees and bend your knees, sliding your back down against the wall until 90degrees or until you feel pain.
  3. Hold 10 secs. Repeat 10 times.

Wall Burner:

  1. Stand next to a wall with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Bring the foot of the leg against the wall behind your other leg, so that your foot is sitting just under your opposite knee.
  3. Push into the wall with your bent knee and slightly bend the knee that you are standing on.
  4. Hold for 5s. Repeat 10 times each leg.

For more of a challenge, you can add a small squat on the leg you are standing on, whilst still pushing into the wall.


To get on top of your knee pain, call All Care Physiotherapy today on 1300 291 133 and get back to the activities you enjoy!