I’m fixable! At least the doctor says so….I had my appointment today with Dr. Sherman of Southwest Spine and Sports to get my knee checked out. It turns out, I have what is called patellofemoral syndrome, or patellofemoral pain syndrome. There are a few causes, but my problem is that my kneecap (patella) does not stay aligned the way it should when I bend my knee. In fact, upon physical examination, when I bend my knee all the way, my patella slides toward the outside of my knee joint! It is more common in women because we tend to have wider hips, causing the angle between the femur and tibia (the Q-angle) to be larger. This predisposes us to greater stress on our patella. Commonly, the quadricep pulls harder on it, causing it to be misaligned. Here is an illustration of the difference in Q-angle between men and women from dynamicchiropractic.com:
Treatment for me is going to be mainly physical therapy. Dr. Sherman wants me to learn ways to strengthen the correct muscles (esp. the inner thigh) to help pull the patella back into place. He also wants me to learn the proper stretches and techniques to prevent injury, and to keep my IT bands in good condition. (I already know some from when Molli showed me.) He said that the pain I have had in my hip (the original problem I had before my knee started acting up) is most likely due to tight IT bands; but everything is related, and can cause the knee problem to be worse. He also prescribed a special knee brace that will help to keep my patella in line when I run and hike.
I am just so happy to finally know what is wrong with my body! Dr. Sherman says it is very common, and that I am definitely not alone.
I definitely recommend Southwest Spine and Sports for anyone who needs a good sports medicine doc. Dr. Sherman was fantastic! (Even though he did his residency at Ohio State….I guess I’ll let that one slide this time.) So off to PT I go! I’ll definitely post about what I learn for you guys. You never know when you might be in the same position as me!
I hope everyone has a great day! Happy Trails!