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The Basics 

The patellofemoral joint can be a common source of anterior knee pain (front of the knee) in many athletes. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a broad term that encompasses many causes for anterior knee pain. 

Abnormalities in the tracking of the patella (knee cap), muscle imbalances, overuse or injury care some of the many causes of anterior knee pain. 

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, is also commonly know as "runners" or "jumper's" knee because it is a common overuse injury in athletes who participate in running and jumping activities. 

Volleyball players demonstrating typical activities related to patellofemoral pain syndrome
Signs and symptoms 
  • pain in the front of the knee

  • pain that worsens with jumping, squatting, running, or pivoting

  • pain that worsens going up or down stairs 

  • pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or standing

X-ray imaging and physical exam are helpful in determining the exact cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Your provider may examine all joints of the lower extremity in order to find the root cause of your anterior knee pain. 


Many patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome can be treated non-operatively with activity modification, bracing, icing, use or oral or topical anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. In rare cases, your provider may recommend operative management depending on the etiology of your anterior knee pain. Schedule an appointment today to see what treatment options may be best for you. 

patellafemoral pain syndrome

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