Patella Pain - Pain in the front of the knee is often caused by a problem with the patella (kneecap).
Cartilage Damage - Sometimes the cartilage on the back on the kneecap or in the groove of the thighbone is damaged. Damaged cartilage can't spread pressure evenly. Uneven pressure wears down the cartilage even further. This often leads to pain and stiffness. And, since cartilage has little blood supply, it has a limited ability to heal.
Dislocation - Sometimes a muscle of ligament in the knee is pulled the wrong way. Or the kneecap may be pushed too hard. Then the kneecap may move partly out of the groove. It may even move completely out. This can happen without warning. You may feel sudden, sharp pain or your knee may "give out."
Patellar Tendinitis - Patellar tendinities ("jumper's knee") occurs when the quadriceps muscles are overused or tight. During movement, the patellar tendon absorbs more shock than usual. The tendon becomes irritated or damaged. This results in pain during motion or even when you're resting.
Plica Band Syndrome - Plica bands are tissue fibers that some people have near the kneecap. They usually cause no problems. But sometimes they can become irritated and inflamed. They may snap or catch on the end of the thighbone. This can cause wear and tear on the cartilage at the end of the bone.
Planning your treatment:
Your treatment plan depends on the cause of your kneecap problem. Your plan is designed to fit your goals and activity level. The most common treatment for kneecap pain is non-surgical. This includes rehabilitation and taking anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Your rehab may be guided by a physical therapist. Surgery may help if your knee problem is severe or if rehab doesn't improve it. Your doctor will discuss the risks and complications of surgery with you. After healing from surgery, you'll start a new rehab program.
Meniscus Tears - The meniscus is a C-shaped pad of rubbery cartilage inside the knee joint. It's often compared to a shock absorber because it helps cushion and stabilize the knee during movement. Although the meniscus is tough, it may tear when placed under too much stress. Fortunately, meniscus tears can be treated with surgery and rehabilitation. This means you can usually return to sports and other activities.