Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (runner’s knee) is a painful knee condition that affects the area under or around the kneecap (patella). It occurs when the cartilage beneath the patella wears down, roughens or softens.

The cause is not always known, but it mostly affects those who participate in high-impact sports. It can occur because of misalignment (patellar tracking disorder), prior knee surgery, excessive use, accidents, injuries and obesity.

What are the Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

The primary symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is discomfort. It is diagnosed through X-rays, a physical exam, patient history, and MRIs. The pain may intensify when:

  • Going up or down steps
  • Jumping
  • Crouching or kneeling
  • Bending the knees while seated for extended periods of time

The risk of developing patellofemoral pain syndrome is higher in younger people. Also, females are 50% more likely than males to develop the condition because of physical differences. Wider hips result in wider angles in the joints of knees.

How is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Treated?

The treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome begins by avoiding activities or positions that cause discomfort. Treatment may also include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Knee bracing
  • Knee taping
  • Arch supports
  • Icing after physical activities
  • Surgery to remove damaged cartilage and/or to realign the knee
Last Reviewed:
October 07, 2016
Last Updated:
August 09, 2017
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