Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It
frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It sometimes is
caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the
Patellofemoral pain syndrome may be caused by overuse, injury,
excess weight, a kneecap that is not properly aligned (patellar tracking disorder), or changes under the kneecap.
The main symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome is knee pain,
especially when you are sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping, or using the
stairs (especially going down stairs). You may also experience occasional knee
buckling, in which the knee suddenly and unexpectedly gives way and does not
support your body weight. It is also common to have a catching, popping, or grinding sensation when
you are walking or when you are moving your knee.
Your doctor will conduct a medical history and
physical exam to determine the cause of your pain. In some cases, imaging tests
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be done. These
tests allow a doctor to view the tissues inside your knee to rule out damage to
the structure of the knee and the tissues connected to it.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be relieved by avoiding
activities that make symptoms worse.
Other methods to relieve pain include:
Other Works Consulted
Callaghan MJ, Selfe J (2012). Patellar taping for patellofemoral pain syndrome in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
Earl JE, Vetter CS (2007). Patellofemoral pain. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 18(2007): 439–458.
Grudziak JS, Musahl V (2007). The youth athlete. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, pp. 194–256. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerPatrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
Current as ofMay 23, 2016
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.