Updated: Oct 19, 2018
There's a very common problem that you probably never heard of...
If you or someone you know is suffering with knee pain, please read this entire article. Knee pain comes in many forms and from many sources. Understanding different types of knee problems is the first step to getting out of pain.
The most common knee problem that I see in my office is very misunderstood and often misdiagnosed for "bone-on-bone" arthritis. Many people I see with this knee problem have basically been told that there is nothing they can do about it and they should have a replacement.
Not So Fast!
I have found that a very high percentage of these people have a knee condition they didn't even know existed. They actually have a Patellar Tracking Disorder.
Common symptoms include...
1- Pain in the front of the knee
2- Pain going up and down stairs
3- A sense of the knee wanting to 'give out' or feeling weak
4- Clicking or catching of the knee
So what is a Patellar Tracking Disorder? It's basically that the knee cap does not glide in the groove of the femur (large upper leg bone) properly and gets stuck thereby creating significant pain, weakness, and typically the feeling that the knee is going to give out.
This is a common knee condition that is often overlooked because it will not necessarily show up on an x-ray or MRI. This is largely a functional knee problem, not a structural knee problem. This means that it is only found or diagnosed by physical examination.
The underlying cause of this problem is that the knee cap cannot glide back and forth properly causing wear on the tendons and ligaments that support it.
How to fix this problem...
Like I said previously (in blog #1), if it's not real bad then self care may be very beneficial. Self care for this problem includes mobilizing the knee cap and surrounding musculature.
With the leg straight and the muscles fully relaxed, simply work the glide back and forth of the knee cap. Also, foam rolling the muscles on the outside of the knee tends to be beneficial.
What I do in my office for patellar tracking disorders...
When the knee cap motion has been restricted for long periods of time there can be a build up of scar tissue adhesions that actually lock the knee cap in place and prevent motion. I typically do a combination of mobilizing the knee cap, and laser therapy to reduce inflammation and break up the scar tissue. Visit the knee pain page in my site.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to call my office at 651-430-3220.
Dr. Ross Hanson