Anterior knee pain, or pain at the front of the knee, is not uncommon for all track and field athletes to experience whether you are a thrower, jumper or runner. One of the most common causes of this pain is due to an irritation of the joint between the undersurface of the patella/kneecap and the end of the femur or thigh bone.
This irritation develops due to an overloading of the cartilage surfaces between these two bones and is most obviously felt when there is pressure on the patella from the contracting quadriceps or thigh muscle, particularly when the knee is bent eg squatting, stairs, jumping etc. The pain is often quite sharp in these positions but aggravation can also lead to an ache during and after activity if there is sufficient inflammation.
The contributing factors to this problem are many, but commonly include tightness in the muscles and soft tissues on the outside of the thigh, weakness or poor activation of the quadricep or buttock muscles, poor foot biomechanics leading to poor limb alignment or training errors. Sudden changes in training load is often the thing that leads to the onset of the symptoms and adjustments to gym programs, shoe type, surfaces, hill running, speed work, jumping and running volume are just a few of the factors we point the finger at when determining the cause of the issue.
So if any of these elements sound familiar to you then maybe you have patello-femoral joint pain. Make sure you get some help from a Physiohealth physiotherapist to correctly diagnose the condition and go about identifying and correcting these contributing factors to keep you out on the track!