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What is patella-femoral arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition affecting the articular cartilage that lines most joints. Patella-femoral arthritis is osteoarthritis located in the patella-femoral joint which is where the patella (knee cap) meets the femur (thigh bone). Physiotherapy is an excellent treatment for patella-femoral arthritis.

How does patella-femoral arthritis happen?

There is no single cause of patella-femoral arthritis and it is often simply due to the ageing process. A previous trauma, being overweight and a family history of osteoarthritis are all risk factors for the condition.

Therapist performing soft tissue massage on the patella and surrounding connective tissue.Above: Therapist performing soft tissue massage on the patella and surrounding connective tissue.

What are the symptoms of patella-femoral arthritis?

The main symptoms of patella-femoral arthritis are pain and joint stiffness. You may find the stiffness is worse in the morning and it takes a while for your joint to loosen up before you begin any activities. Other symptoms include:

What should I do if I have patella-femoral arthritis?

If you notice any symptoms of patella-femoral arthritis, you should visit your GP who may prescribe you with painkillers. You may be referred for an X-ray to provide an accurate diagnosis. Surgery will only be advised in very severe cases and this can include an arthroscopy or patella-femoral joint replacement.

What shouldn’t I do if I have patella-femoral arthritis?

You should limit the amount of high impact activities or sports that you carry out as this will place additional strain on the patella-femoral joint and could cause further damage. Do not ignore your symptoms as they may begin to restrict your normal active lifestyle.

Therapist performing knee assessmentAbove: Therapist performing knee assessment

Physiotherapy treatment following patella-femoral arthritis.

Physiotherapy is a brilliant way to restore the strength in the muscles surrounding the patella-femoral joint. This will provide extra support to the joint and will reduce your pain. Physiotherapy options include:

Could there be any long-term effects from patella-femoral arthritis?

There is no cure for patella-femoral arthritis. However the impact of the condition can be minimised by a personalised physiotherapy programme tailored to your needs and goals.

To arrange a physiotherapy assessment call on 0330 088 7800 or book online.

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