Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PPS) is a term used to describe pain originating from the front of the knee in the region of the patella (kneecap) and thighbone. It is believed that the way the patella tracks along the groove of the femur can lead to irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the patella. It is the most prevalent injury among patients presenting with knee pain.

Causes of PPS

The exact cause of patellofemoral pain is unknown. A variety of activities that cause repetitive motion or overuse can contribute to this syndrome; for example running, jumping and squatting activities. There are several factors that can cause this to occur: muscle imbalances, decreased flexibility, improper training techniques and biomechanical abnormalities such as excessive pronation of the foot.

Symptoms of PPS

The main symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is knee pain, especially when sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping or using the stairs (especially going down stairs). Occasional knee buckling, where the knee suddenly and unexpectedly gives way, may also be experienced. A catching, popping or grinding sensation when walking or with knee movement is also common.

Treatment of PPS

  • Taping to reduce pain and retrain the muscles to work efficiently
  • Modalities including ice, heat, ultrasound or electrical stimulation to decrease pain and swelling
  • Strengthening exercises to target the core, hip, knee and ankle
  • Stretching of hip and knee musculature
  • Manual soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization
  • Balance and functional retraining exercises to improve recreational, sport and daily living activities
Outpatient Physical Therapy