Patellofemoral Syndrome

What is it?

Patellofemoral syndrome is where pain originating from under the knee cap (called the patella) is caused when it doesn’t glide up and down on the knee correctly, which can be due to by many different reasons. Alignment or overuse problems of the patella can lead to wear and tear of the cartilage behind the patella. This causes pain, weakness and swelling of the knee joint.



These problems can affect people of all ages.

Mechanism of Injury

Common Management Techniques

Once a diagnosis is made, management of patellofemoral pain includes educating about:


Patellofemoral syndrome is considered a self-limiting disorder. It is important that all the biomechanical factors that are contributing to the disorder are addressed and considered, and this may include other joints such as the hip and ankle. 


For some people a course of physiotherapy for 6 weeks may be suitable, others may be a year. 


Some patients who do not respond to conservative management may need to go on to having surgery such as an arthroscopy if structures such as cartilage are severely damaged or a lateral release if the patella problems are due to malalignment and a knee reconstruction if misalignment is severe.