Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions that tend to affect young active adults. Females are found to be affected 2.2 times more than their male counterparts. It accounts for 25% to 40% of all knee problems seen in sports medicine centers.


Patellofemoral pain syndrome has multiple symptoms, it usually presents as diffuse anterior
knee pain, retropatellar (behind patella) and peripatellar pain (around patella) associated with activities that place increased stress into the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) such as walking, jumping, squatting, descending stairs, long-duration sitting, running, and kneeling. Usually, the onset is insidious and progression is slow. It may also present with swelling, loss of motion, and sensation of giving away or instability.


It is believed, that this syndrome is a result of abnormal patella tracking that leads to excessive compressive stress to the patellar facets. Factors that may contribute to abnormal patellar tracking include proximal factors, such as hip abductor weakness, hip lateral rotator weakness, local factors quadriceps weakness, quadriceps muscle imbalances, excessive knee soft tissue tightness, an increased quadriceps angle (Q-angle), hip weakness, and distal factors, such as restricted dorsiflexion, excessive foot pronation or altered foot kinematics.


Doctors after discussing your symptoms and your medical history will assess and examine your back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot in order to pinpoint the cause.

As Patellofemoral is a multifactorial pathology, hence a comprehensive treatment requires multiple approaches Conservative treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome focuses on restoring normal patellar tracking by improving dynamic stability. Strengthening exercises for the quadriceps, hip external rotators and abductors. Stretching exercises for hamstrings, gastrocnemius, quadriceps, iliotibial band/ tensor fascia lata. When caused by overpronation of the foot, the pathology can be treated by custom foot orthotics.

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