Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Pain with running felt around the front of the knee

Running and jumping sports place a heavy demand on the articulation between the knee cap and the inside of the knee.  This forms a joint where the back of the knee cap is v shaped and slides up and down through a groove.  The mechanics required to make this ‘run true’ through the mid-line of the groove involve adequate quadriceps strength and stability of the joints above and below the knee.  The knee joint itself can also be restricted by tight local musculature.

Treatment involves a full gait analysis so that the ankle and hip joints can be assessed in action, and sometimes an orthotic device is recommended for fitting in the shoes to stabilise the system from below.  The main areas of weakness need to be addressed with specific home exercises – typically involving the gluteal and medial thigh muscles.  Soft tissue massage is also recommended if there are tight muscles identified around the knee itself.  Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of the musculoskeletal conditions that will not resolve spontaneously over time – it needs to be rehabilitated, so the sooner it is addressed the better the outcome.