Anterior Knee Pain/ Patellofemoral Pain

By Andrea Rich – Physiotherapist


What is Patellofemoral pain ?

The patellofemoral joint is the articulation between the kneecap and thigh bone. As the knee bends and straightens, the patella moves within a groove on the femur. Patellofemoral pain is often due to overloading (too much load too soon) and causes increased pressure on certain surfaces within the groove or soft tissues in the area.

Patellofemoral pain is often referred to anterior knee pain and can cause pain in the front, side or back of the knee. It is a common cause of knee pain as 25% of people will have patellofemoral pain at some point during their life. It is also a common condition in runners and defence personnel.


How can physio help Patellofemoral pain?

With patellofemoral pain, there is no damage to the joint or surrounding soft tissues (ligaments or muscles) and therefore exercise is the predominant treatment. Often during physio assessment we find muscles that are weaker than others, or tighter as well as poor biomechanics at the knee, foot or hip joint. These all can contribute to patellofemoral pain. Exercises usually involve strengthening certain muscles around the hip and knee.

As patellofemoral pain is common in runners, there is emerging research that increasing step rate (cadence) can reduce stress on the patella-femoral joint and therefore reduce pain. If you are experiencing pain in or around your knee, it is best to have an assessment to determine the cause of the pain and we can discuss treatment options. If you suffer from knee pain whilst running, book a Running Assessment with Andrea. 

We can also provide ways that you can self-manage your pain as to not aggravate your knee. This is most beneficial through activity suggestions and modifications. Patellofemoral pain will usually not settle without treatment, and your physio can help guide you on how to get back to the activities you love without pain.


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