The kneecap or patella is a disc like bone embedded into the connective tissue (such as tendons) around your knee. The patella is an important part of the skeletal mechanism of the knee joint as it serves the very significant purpose of defending the knee joint against injury. It also functions as a shock absorber as it spreads the force of any impact that is likely to affect the stability of the knee joint. Patella pain is a condition affecting the cartilage around the kneecap.
Patella pain occurs generally due to the quadriceps (Muscles in the thighs) pulling on the kneecap at a wrong angle. When this happens the kneecap, instead of gliding over the thigh bone starts to grind against the thigh bone. This happens each time we use our knee to augment our body movements. Since the cartilage and other connective tissues wear away, any movement of the knee joint causes patella pain.
Using pain killers, taking adequate rest and using knee braces support is the first line of defence against patella pain. Most of the medical practitioners that I know support this course of treatment if the patient does not suffer from chronic patella pain. The knee braces are particularly effective as they function as a support system to the different muscle groups that aid the functioning of the knee joint. This eases the pressure and forces action in the patella.
If you are to avoid patella pain, I suggest that you use a knee brace every time you indulge in activities that require you to utilize an extended range of motion from your knee joint. A cold compress may also serve to decrease the symptoms of patella pain. I would like to point out here that this is not a cure for pain in the kneecap or patella but more of a first aid measure to ease the symptoms until you can start a more regularized course of treatment.
People affected by patella pain usually walk with a limp and find it difficult to move the knee joints while walking; this issue can be resolved if these people use a walking stick to ease the pressure on the affected joint while walking. Physiotherapy to strengthen the quadriceps muscles and to strengthen the muscle of the inner thigh is also particularly effective in managing patella pain and this treatment method has found favour with leading medical practitioners.