The definition of Anterior Knee Pain(ANP) is as follows: A syndrome that causes pain to be felt on the front(or anterior) of the knee on, under or around the kneecap.The pain is usually mechanical, increased by activity and decreased by rest. Sensations and symptoms vary and there is more than one tissue that can be the cause of the pain. ANP is very common in adolescents and usually begins at the beginning of a growth spurt. It can be caused by the growth spurt alone or it can be triggered by the combination of growth and sports. ANP may continue throughout the teen years and sometimes into early college.It may be chronic and it also disappears on it's own at times. Different types of injury can cause ANP such as a direct blow to the kneecap, or after a ligament injury to the knee(indirect cause).
Anterior Knee Pain may be the most common injury or pain syndrome in sports. It often occurs with changes in training pattern or when going from long periods of rest into the beginning of training, for example at the beginning of the season. When chronic, it even threatens ending promising sports careers.Overuse can also be the cause of ANP, again with abrupt changes in activity involving cycling, agressive hiking, skiing, and running, or work situtaions involving extensive walking and/or stairclimbing.
Treatment for Anterior Knee Pain varies dependent on what your Physical Therapist finds during the Initial Evaluation. There are several factors involved with treating ANP. Foot position, i.e. excessive pronation/supination can predispose one to acquiring ANP. Muscle Dominance or Muscle Imbalance problems can also be a set-up for onset of ANP symptoms.Differences in the angle between the thighbone and the legbone, called "the Q-Angle", make the likelihood of ANP occur more often in teenage girls than boys.This is primarily because women must have a wider pelvis in order to carry and have children.
In closing, if you begin to have Anterior Knee Pain that lasts longer than 2-3 weeks, it is best to see your physician first. Then, with his or her help you can discuss whether or not physical therapy would be a viable treatment option for you.