The kneecap (patella) is a small bone that sits in front of the knee. In a well functioning knee, the kneecap (patella) glides smoothly in a groove (called the trochlea) at the lower end of the thigh bone (femur) as the knee joint is bent or straightened. An intricate network of ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues supports the patellofemoral joint, and any disruption of these mechanisms can cause derangement of the normal functioning of this joint.
Problems most frequently include pain in the front of the knee called anterior knee pain, instability (commonly felt as giving way of the knee) that commonly happens when the kneecap moves partially or fully out of the groove and arthritis (wear and tear of the joint).
A thorough assessment of the patellofemoral joint is essential to diagnose the cause of the symptoms. This frequently includes looking for imbalances that may be present from your hips to the feet. Patellofemoral problems can be aggravated by factors such as flat feet, abnormal hip rotation, tightness of the iliotibial band and hip flexor muscles. It is essential that a precise diagnosis be made to be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.