Dr. Todd recently saw a 13-year-old patient for treatment of patellofemoral tracking disorder. Her pediatric orthopedist said he sees this disorder 2-3 times per day!
What exactly is this common condition and what can we do to help treat it at APH?
In simplest terms, patellofemoral tracking disorder is when your kneecap moves out of place when you bend or straighten your leg. Your kneecap is kind of a “floating” bone that is held out in front of your knee joint by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When you bend or straighten your leg, the patella glides along a groove in the femur. In tracking disorder, the patella moves either too far to the outside or inside of your leg, causing pain usually at the front of the knee.
So what can we do to help?!
The good news about patellofemoral tracking disorder is that it’s treatable with non-invasive techniques. At APH, we take a multifaceted approach:
Heat -- to increase blood flow to the area
Active Release Techniques (ART) to the muscles, Graston (IASTM) for myofascial release and Therapeutic Exercises (TE) to hold the correct alignment.
Pelvic manipulation -- to correct sacroiliac joint dysfunction, when stretching and TE cannot correct alignment. We work with the hips, because poor range of motion leads to problems down the kinetic chain (i.e. knee problems)
Therapeutic exercise -- IS CRUCIAL to correct muscle imbalances. For tracking disorder, we work directly with the quads of course, but also with the hip flexors and glutes to help balance and mobility in all muscles and joints. It may feel silly spending time working on your hips and glutes when you have pain all the way down in your knee, but dysfunctional movements caused by muscle imbalances in your hips and glutes are directly related to your knee joints (and even further down), as illustrated here:
If you are suffering from knee pain that you think could be attributed to Patellofemoral Tracking Disorder, we can help! Schedule your appointment here and we'll get you back on the right track. Pun intended, as always :)