I've had knee pain since I was 13 (I'm now 18). The doctor calls it patellofemoral pain syndrome. I've done a million quad sets and hamstring stretches. It helps but I still have pain when I try to increase my training schedule for track and field events. Is there anything new I can try?

Treatment for patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) has traditionally relied on quadriceps strength training. Some patients also benefit from neuromuscular training, which focuses more on motor control than improving strength.

So far no one has found a "one size fits all" kind of program. Some people seem to get better with one type of exercise while others have less pain and more function with other types of training.

Some time ago researchers saw that hip strength may be an important key to PFPS. One by one studies have been done to confirm this suspicion. Most recently physical therapists at the Nicholas Institute of Sports and Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York City studied hip strength and flexibility as it relates to PFPS.

They found that 60 percent of patients with PFPS got better after a six-week training program. Exercises to improve hip flexor strength and flexibility resulted in decreased pain and improved function.

The goal was to prevent inward rotation of the thighbone (femoral rotation). Maintaining good alignment of the patella as it moves up and down over the knee reduces the tension on the soft tissues around the knee. This new treatment approach may help you as well!