Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an injury that results in pain around your kneecap, which is also called the patella. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is also sometimes known as runner’s knee.

This type of pain tends to affect people who perform lots of jumping and running, which is common in sports such as basketball, track and field, and soccer. With this pain, you’ll find that it hurts more when you go up and down stairs, when you run and squat, and sometimes even when you sit still for a long period.

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Patellofemoral pain syndrome, like other knee injuries, will usually cause a throbbing, aching pain centered around the front of your knee. You can determine the severity of the injury based on how much – or how little – the pain increases or decreases when you use stairs, squat, kneel, or when you bend your knee and leave it bent.

Minor knee pain will likely alleviate after a few days of resting or icing the afflicted area. However, if the pain continues beyond that time, you should contact your doctor or another medical professional. There might be something more serious going on that you’re unaware of.

Causes and Risk Factors

Factors have been found to increase your risk of patellofemoral pain syndrome include:

  • Muscle weakness or muscle imbalance. If the muscles near your knee and hip don’t hold your kneecap in a proper position, the awkward angle may result in pain.
  • Surgery. If you have been through a knee-specific surgery, you might suffer from patellofemoral pain in the aftermath.
  • Overuse. If you use your knees often, the extensive use may result in pain in your knee.
  • Injury. If you suffer a knee injury, patellofemoral pain syndrome may follow in its wake.

Additionally, if you are a young adult, you may be at higher risk of patellofemoral pain syndrome. If you are older, any pain in your knee is likely due to arthritis. Additionally, women are more likely to suffer from patellofemoral pain syndrome – this is possibly because women have a larger pelvis than men. Finally, participation in certain sports can increase your chances of having patellofemoral pain syndrome, due to the extra stress that sports put on the knee.

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A common misconception is that you need a big, open surgery to fix your knee. We use modern, minimally-invasive procedures to avoid this path whenever possible – and many of our patients are up and walking by the next day.

Treatment and Prevention

When it comes to physical injuries, in many cases, the best medicine is prevention. Doing exercises and taking actions to lower the risk of patellofemoral pain syndrome can be extremely helpful. You may also speak with a doctor regarding specific activities to lower the risk, but some good ones to try are losing weight, warming up and stretching before participating in activities, and using supportive gear and shoes.

The treatment, on the other hand, depends on the severity of the pain and progression of the condition. Sometimes, resting the afflicted area and/or icing it can help alleviate the knee pain. Other times, physical therapy is recommended or even orthopedic surgery, if the patellofemoral pain syndrome does not respond to non-surgical treatments.


If you or a loved one might be suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome, it’s best to seek the opinion of an orthopedic surgeon. Our doctors are available to help with your knee pain and get you on the path to recovery. Our locations in Hoboken and Jersey City are conveniently accessible for all of Hudson County, including West New York, Union City, Bayonne, Weehawken, and more. Contact us today!

Additional Resources

Patellofemoral pain syndrome- Mayo Clinic

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