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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 kneecap.
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 including X-rays or 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 ConsultedDixit S, et al. (2007). Management of patellofemoral pain syndrome. American Family Physician, 75(2): 195–202.Earl JE, Vetter CS (2007). Patellofemoral pain. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 18(2007): 439–458.Grudziak JS, Musahl V (2007). Patella instability and dislocation in adolescents section of The youth athlete. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, p. 230. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Last Revised: January 9, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
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