Patellofemoral Syndrome

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Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain at the front of the knee around the kneecap, or patella. Sometimes it is also referred to as “runner’s knee”, it’s more common in people who participate in sports that involve running and jumping.

Some factors that may increase your risk include:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Certain sports


This syndrome usually causes a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee. The pain can increase or be irritated when:

  • You walk up or down stairs
  • You kneel or squat
  • You sit with a bent knee for long periods


There is no certainty as to what causes this syndrome, but it has been highly associated with:

  • Overuse – Running or jumping sports puts repetitive stress on the knee joint, which can irritate the knee cap
  • Muscle imbalance or weakness – Pain can occur when the muscles around the hip and knee don’t keep the kneecap properly aligned
  • Injury – Trauma to the kneecap has been linked to patellofemoral pain syndrome
    • Surgery – Knee surgery can increase the risk of patellofemoral pain syndrome


Treatment often starts with rest; avoid or modify activities that irritate the knee, such as climbing stairs, kneeling, or squatting.

Some other treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen to help with pain and swelling
  • A physical therapist might suggest rehab exercises, supportive braces, taping, ice, and knee-friendly sports such as bicycling and swimming.
  • Surgery

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