Patellofemoral tracking syndrome refers to the medical condition where the kneecap (patella) falls out of alignment. The kneecap is important because it acts as a protective and stabilizing cover for the knee joint, a major hinge joint that connects, a major hinge joint that connects the thigh to the lower leg and helps with flexion and extension movements. When the patella becomes dislocated, it can cause pain and instability in and around the knee joint and difficulties with walking.
How Does This Happen?
Like with most movement concerns, sedentary lifestyles, engaging in repetitive movements, and over-training/injuries can lead to this condition.
There are three main physiological causes of patellofemoral tracking issues:
- A lateral shift, typically towards the outside, within the kneecap causes a dislocation between the knee and the thigh bone. In a neutral state, the knee sits flush within the side grooves of the thigh bone; however, excessive internal rotation may jerk it out of correct alignment.
- Tight quadriceps may cause tension and pull the thigh bone out of alignment.
- Neuromuscular disorders that affect the muscle movement can also create dislocation of the knee joint.
Signs of Patellofemoral Tracking Syndrome
- Knee pain
- Swelling of the knee joint
- Restriction of movement
- Buckling under weight sensation
- Catching, popping noises and sensations
- It looks out of place
How Do You Fix It?
To address patellofemoral tracking syndrome, it is important to work on stabilizing the knee joint and the surrounding muscle groups. We would recommend the following exercises:
- Release – Posterior Lateral Quad & Piriformis 60 sec each
- Activation – Side lying hip extension 2 x 20
- Integration – step to band hip extension w/adduction 2 x 20
- Strengthen – Laying elevated single leg hip press w/contralateral hip flexion 2 x 20