Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a fairly common condition. Girls are affected more often than boys. With the increased participation in sports, PFPS has become a bigger problem than it once was. Pain with knee motion makes it more difficult to stay active in sports.
The patella sits over the knee joint and moves up and down along a track or groove in the femur (leg bone). PFPS causes pain because of the way the patella (kneecap) tracks within the femoral groove as the knee moves.
The quadriceps muscle helps control the patella so it stays within this groove. If part of the quadriceps is weak for any reason, a muscle imbalance can occur. When this happens, the pull of the quadriceps muscle may cause the patella to move more to one side than the other. This in turn causes more pressure on the cartilage on one side than the other. In time, this pressure can damage the articular cartilage.
Taping the patella helps it stay in the groove and move up and down over the knee as it should. Many patients get immediate pain relief with this treatment technique. Taping is usually accompanied by a muscle stretching and strengthening program.