Sports massage can be useful in treating patellofemoral pain syndrome by helping to loosen tight structures such as the IT band and lateral retinaculum.
Effleurage is always the first technique used in any massage. It spreads the oil and warms up the tissues. It can also be used as a transition stroke between other strokes. Effleurage should cover as much of the thigh and knee area as possible. Pressure is applied on the upward stroke only and gets gradually firmer as warmth in the muscle increases.
Petrissage is a kneading technique which is really used to warm-up and loosen the muscle tissues. There are several different types of petrissage technique which can be used.
Stripping the muscle
The thumb is used to apply a deep, sustained pressure from the knee up to the hip. This really gets into the muscles and helps with stretching them out and realigning fibers and scar tissue. This is very useful for the IT band. The heel of the hand, elbow or a massage tool can also be used for this technique.
The thumb is moved in circular motions, gradually increasing the pressure to tight, tender areas which helps to release knots and break down scar tissue and adhesions.
Pressure is applied directly on top of a knot. Once the discomfort begins to ease, pressure is increased. Once discomfort starts to fade again, the pressure is released. This causes a reduction in blood flow (ischaemia) to the area, followed by a massive increase, which helps the muscle to heal. It is also thought to decrease the sensitivity of the trigger point.
Lighter techniques such as petrissage and then effleurage are used again towards the end of a massage to help prevent blood pooling and flush out waste products.