The patella [kneecap] is a small bone that has a smooth undersurface that forms an articulation, [joint] with the bottom part of the femur, which allows the muscles to glide over the front of the knee when it bends and straightens.
The quadriceps muscles insert into the top, forming a tendon, and the sides of the patellar and control the way it glides. The patella tendon connects the bottom of the patella to the lower leg, [Tibia], and forms an anchor for the quadriceps.
Pain and discomfort can occur around the margins or sometimes on the undersurface of the patella. The usual undersurface of the Patellar can get irritated in a variety of ways:
- Acute pain – can be caused by trauma such as a direct blow to the kneecap. Sudden increases in load through the knee joint, [spikes] such as running, jumping, cycling or even climbing stairs.
- Chronic pain – can develop over a period of time that you may have ignored and thought would “go away” but never does. This again may be due to increases in load through the knee joint such as the increased volume of training, running on different surfaces or in new shoes.
- Mechanical pain – can be caused by poor movement “biomechanics”, the way you control your lower limb in activity over a period of time. If the load through the knee is not dampened by good strength and movement control throughout the lower limb [hip/knee/ankle] it will be subject to stresses that may lead to pain around or below the patella.