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My granddaughter has a knee problem she calls PFPS. I don't know much about it but she says it's because her hip is weak. Well, I saw a physical therapist and she gave me some elastic bands to use that cured my hip pain. Would something like this help my little Anna and her PFPS?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is characterized by pain along the front of the knee. The pain is brought on or made worse by activities like squatting, running, sitting for long periods of time, and going up and down stairs is common. PFPS affects one of every four young athletes. The condition is so common in runners that it is often called runner's knee. Physical therapists and sports physicians are actively seeking ways to help treat this problem. The goals of treatment are to reduce pain, decrease swelling, and restore function by improving strength and joint motion. These goals are accomplished in one of two ways: conservative (nonoperative) care and surgery. Of course, the conservative approach is recommended first. The physical therapist uses a variety of techniques to assist the patient with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). Tools (also referred to as modalities) are used such as cold or heat therapy, electrical therapy, and biofeedback. Each of these modalities provides several options to choose from. The use of elastic (resistive) bands that you mention is one way strengthening is done for the hip and knee to help this condition. The bands come in different colors. Each color signifies the strength of the resistance starting with yellow (mild resistance) and going up from yellow to red to blue, green, and black (greatest resistance). Recently, a physical therapist from the Department of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University took the time to review studies using elastic resistance to treat patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). The goal was to look for and report on any evidence that this method of treating PFPS is effective. Results did show that using elastic resistance bands improves muscle strength. But the significance of this finding for patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) was lost by the fact that the studies were poorly designed. The author concluded that "elastic resistance exercise may reduce pain and improve function and strength in patients with PFPS." That's not the same as saying there is strong evidence supporting elastic resistance exercises in the treatment of PFPS. Further study is needed to identify just what does improve strength and result in good (the best!) outcomes for this condition. In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with showing your granddaughter what you used and have her ask her physician or physical therapist if something like that might help her. It won't hurt. It may not help as much as something else but until we know what that is -- elast


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