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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I've seen other girls with knee problems but I've never had any myself. But now I'm playing soccer more and it looks like I've got patellofemoral pain syndrome. My Mom said that she had the same thing when she was my age. Is it hereditary?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is probably the biggest cause of knee pain in young athletes. And as you may have heard, girls are affected more often than boys. The average individual (male or female) isn't usually plagued by this problem. It seems to come on with regular running and jumping activities. Repetitive stress on the back of the kneecap where it moves up and down against the femur (thighbone) seems to be the major risk factor. This area is called the patellofemoral joint. But studies show that PFPS is a multifactorial problem. This means that more than one thing has contributed to the development of this condition. Some of the problem could be genetic. But it's likely that there are also neurologic, mechanical, and activity-related risk factors. Each one of these variables has an individual effect on the joint. A series of more recent studies has focused on the role of altered kinematics in PFPS. Kinematics refers to patterns of movement -- specifically how the patellofemoral joint and the knee joint rotate and glide in relation to one another during motion. It appears that females who adduct the hip (knee moves toward the other knee) during single-leg squat motions have a greater tendency to develop PFPS. PFPS is more likely to occur if the knee externally rotates at the same time. Researchers are using three-dimensional (3-D) analysis in motion labs to figure out exactly what's going on and what to do about it. Hopefully in the future, we will be able to predict who might develop this problem and prevent it (or at least treat it effectively when it does happen).


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