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Patellofemoral pain syndrome described as pain under or around the patella (kneecap), caused by one of a number of conditions that lead to unusual stress on the knee joint. Within the joint, the ends of the femur and tibia are covered with smooth articular cartilage that allows them to slide over each other without friction. With excessive use or a combination of over use and age these articulating surfaces begin to wear. This creates an irregular (chondromalacia) or pitted surface vs. a smooth surface and this is what causes the grinding sound and sensation under the patella. The pain worsens when kneeling, walking up and down stairs, sitting for a long time or other situations when the knee is bent.
There are many types of patella stabilizers available, and it is important that, should you wear one, it be properly fitted. A patellar stabilizing brace holds the kneecap in its correct position within the femoral groove and can be useful in aiding the patella tracking through a gentle elevation and limitation of a sideways or lateral shifting. The key to a successful/ helpful patella stabilizer is that it be both functional and comfortable as the most functional orthosis is only effective when it is worn vs. sitting at home in the closet.