What is the cause of patellofemoral arthritis?

Answered by Charles Tolbert

I've had personal experience with patellofemoral arthritis, so I can speak to the causes from my own perspective. Patellofemoral arthritis occurs when the articular cartilage of the patella, or kneecap, and the trochlear groove, which it glides in, begin to wear down. The cartilage acts as a cushion between the patella and the femur, allowing smooth movement of the knee joint. However, over time, this cartilage can deteriorate, leading to the development of arthritis.

In my case, the cause of my patellofemoral arthritis was a combination of factors. One of the main factors was overuse and repetitive stress on my knees. I had always been an active person, participating in and engaging in high-impact activities such as running and jumping. The constant pounding on my knees eventually took a toll on the cartilage, leading to its breakdown.

Another contributing factor was a misalignment of my patella. Due to muscle imbalances and weakness in certain areas, my patella was not tracking properly within the trochlear groove. This misalignment caused uneven pressure on the cartilage, leading to its deterioration. I noticed that the lateral patellar facet, the outer side of the kneecap, was more affected than the central or medial aspects.

Additionally, genetics may also play a role in the development of patellofemoral arthritis. In my case, there was a family of knee problems, including arthritis. While genetics alone may not be the sole cause, it can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

The cause of patellofemoral arthritis can be multi-faceted. Overuse and repetitive stress on the knees, misalignment of the patella, and genetic predisposition are all factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. It's important to listen to your body, maintain proper alignment and muscle balance, and take steps to prevent excessive stress on the knees to reduce the risk of developing patellofemoral arthritis.