Many people who read my blog are looking for answers to recovering from MPFL surgery. Those who have read my posts know that I had MPFL surgery over 3 years ago, I went through a lot of physical therapy, and I had scar tissue removed from knee about 8 months ago to alleviate pain. That seemed to work well for a "locking" and "catching" feeling I was getting in my knee. I would be walking or exercising, and all of a sudden, my knee cap would feel like it locked and released. It was a scary, odd feeling. As for the pain, the surgery didn't do as much. Initially, I thought it had, but I think maybe the pain meds were masking the pain. Here is what I've done since...(Sorry if I'm repeating info from previous posts. I can't remember right now what I've already posted!)
I visited my knee surgeon and one of my friends who is a sports therapist. Both suggested that the pain I'm experiencing may be due to tightness of the IT band. Both recommended a foam roller and some stretching exercises. I will post a helpful video from Spark People about how to use a foam roller to release your IT band. It has helped a lot, but be forewarned...it can be painful depending on how much pressure you use. However, I've found that enduring the pain during rolling helps a lot with the stiffness and pain afterwards. My knee hurts much less when I wake up in the morning if I roll before I go to bed. My friend also suggested a sports massage. Luckily, I live in L.A. where there are many sports massage places. The place she recommended is called L.A. Sports Massage, and I saw a guy named Jason. He was AWESOME. He basically did the same thing that I do with the foam roller, but he used his hands to apply pressure. He gave me tips for stretching and releasing the IT band, and this has been a life saver! He told me (as did the doctor and my friend) that maintaining flexibility in the IT band is an ongoing thing. It's not something that will "heal" and go away. It's not an injury...it's just tightness, and like any tight muscle or tendon, you need to work at stretching it...forever. Okay, that part is annoying, but a small price to pay for pain relief. So, I highly recommend you look into this if you're having pain at the hip or knee joint, especially after prolonged periods of bent knees. The IT band runs from the hip to the top of the knee on the outside of the leg, so the pain may present itself anywhere along that band.
Using kinesio tape also helps! I will also post a video on that. I buy my kinesio tape at Big 5, Dick's, Sports Chalet. It even comes in cool colors now. I like pink. :)
Give these things a try if you're struggling, but as always, consult your doctor first!! These are just a few things that have helped me.