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patella maltracking

Patella maltracking can also be known as patellofemoral syndrome.


What is patella maltracking?

The kneecap (patella) is a small bone that is situated at the front of the knee. The quadriceps muscle attaches at the top of the patella and the patellar tendon passes at the bottom of the patella down and onto the top of the shin bone (tibia).

The back of the patella is V shaped and it sits in a groove at the front of the knee and slides up and down as the knee bends.

Patella maltracking is the name given to several conditions where the patella does not stay where it is supposed to in the central part of the thigh bone (femur) and it does not glide over the femur as it should which can cause inflammation and swelling which can cause pain.

LCPS (lateral patellar compression syndrome), ELPS (excessive lateral pressure syndrome), patella tilt, subluxation or dislocation are all different conditions that involve patella maltracking.


What causes patella maltracking?

A muscle problem can cause patella maltracking and this may be due to a muscle imbalance or because the muscles are being used incorrectly and overworked.

There may also be a problem with the rotation of your upper leg bone or a foot pathology causing the patella to not glide smoothly.


What are the symptoms of patella maltracking?

Pain on the front of the knee which gets worse by going down steps or hills or prolonged sitting.

Pain on the front of the knee may also be accompanied by:

  • Pain on the sides of the knee
  • Pain from sitting for long periods
  • Clicking
  • Swelling


How is patella maltracking diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can carry out a detailed assessment to see whether or not patella maltracking is causing your symptoms or something else is the problem.

Knee cap pain can be caused by several different things so a through physiotherapy assessment can help distinguish exactly what is causing your symptoms.

    What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for patella maltracking?

    If patella maltracking becomes quite bad and isn’t treated correctly, further damage can occur and the articular cartilage can be injured leading to patellofemral arthritis. If patella maltracking is causing severe problems then surgery may be an option.

    Your physiotherapist will choose the best treatment methods for you based on your symptoms and response to different treatment methods. Usually several treatment methods are used together.

    Treatment can include:

    • Strengthening exercises (quadriceps)
    • Footwear assessment
    • Knee icing
    • Patella taping
    • Anti-inflammatory advice
    • Manual techniques
    • Soft tissue massage
    • Biofeedback exercises
    • Advice and education
    • Graded return to activity


    Benefit of physiotherapy for patella maltracking?

    There are several benefits of physiotherapy for patella maltracking. The benefits you feel will be based on what the symptoms are that you present with.

    Benefits of physiotherapy for patella maltracking includes:

    • Reduced pain
    • Improved strength
    • Improved function
    • Improved patella alignment
    • Education
    • Prevention of re-injury

      Don't let pain win...

      Our Expert Physiotherapists specialise in providing the latest in physiotherapy treatments and techniques in order to get you pain free as soon as possible, cure the cause of your pain and help you to return to pre-injury levels of activity.

      Furthermore, we'll also give you a bespoke exercise and rehabilitation program, and advise you on how to prevent re-injury and remain pain free.

      Get in touch with us now on 01245 830280 or 07980 898212 or alternatively send us a message.


      At Farrell Physiotherapy we work with some of the uk's top insurance companies to ensure you're covered.

      We can accept payment from AXA (PPP), Bupa, PruHealth, simplyhealth and Standard Life, if you have any questions about alternative payment methods, please get in touch with us using the contact form at the bottom of the page and we'll get back to you asap!


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      I visited the practice on personal recommendation following a doctor’s diagnosis of an as then unspecified “shoulder injury”. I had seen my GP as the increasing pain in my arm and shoulder was not only preventing me from lifting my arm above 90%, but was also increasingly stopping me from sleeping at night.

      After an initial diagnosis session where Ben Farrell had quickly identified the actual problem, I then undertook a course of hands on physiotherapy and an increasing program of exercise. In view of the complexity of the problem (which I was advised had been going on for far longer than I has know), the physiotherapy program was, therefore, pretty comprehensive, however, always with excellent support and guidance from Ben along the way.

      I am very pleased with the results and I am now both playing much better golf and getting a full night’s sleep. And, I have no problems lifting my arm its full range!!!! So, the next thing on the agenda will be the golf game at Benton Hall.

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      My first appointment with Mr Farrell was 4 weeks prior to running the London marathon and I was in no fit state to be able to run it due to a knee injury. Mr Farrell gave me a number of exercises to completely daily and a handful of one on one sessions as well. He also advised me on picking a better pair of running shoes to support my foot shape and create less pain in my knee.

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      Ben is an excellent physiotherapist who provided a considered care plan that enabled me to achieve my goals. Ben in his unique professional and personable manner demonstrated judgement and considerable experience to assist my recovery

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      After only a short course of treatment and undertaking daily exercises I am now pain free.

      I would gladly recommend Farrell Physiotherapy to any person requiring physiotherapy treatment.

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      Where we are

      We have three clinic locations within the Essex area, please use the map below to view contact details for the clinic that you would prefer to visit. 

      Opening Hours

      Monday to Friday
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      Unit 2, The Old Coal Yard,
      Little Waltham Road,
      Broomfield, Chelmsford
      CM1 7TG

      South Woodham Ferrers

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      South Woodham Ferrers,
      Essex, CM3 5WA


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      Essex, CM8 1EP

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