knee pain
knee pain

Before you know the reasons behind Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, you should first understand what this condition is. This knee disorder is also referred to as runner’s knee or anterior knee pain. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is a generic terminology that refers to pain around the knee front. The pain begins gradually but intensifies with time. Hence, athletes and active young people are the main victims of this disorder. 

How is our Kneecap Composed? 

The patella or kneecap is a minute, three-sided bone at the front side of our knees that moves along with the knee as it bends. As your knee flexes and straightens, the kneecap glides up and down along a path. The path is known as the trochlear groove. The groove is positioned at the end of your thighbone. 

Hence, the kneecap moves in many directions within the channel to facilitate effective and frictionless movements. It enables your knee to move up and down, sideways, rotates, and tit. The patella provides the front thigh muscles extra power to straighten up. Moreover, it shields other knee bones against crashes and falls. 

What are the Primary Causes of This Condition? 

Repetitive abrasion on any patella surface causes this disorder. Hence, it damages the cartilage on the below side of the kneecap. Therefore, you may feel pain and inflammation. Although many factors may cause this disorder, the primary reason is overuse and misalignment. 


When you run, your knee repeatedly bends and straightens, and when the pressure between the kneecap and femur increases, it may lead to patellofemoral disorder. Hence, your patella is irritated and results in a bone bruise. 


You can also suffer from this condition when the kneecap does not track appropriately when the knee flexes and straightens. It places high pressure on the contact regions of the kneecap and femur. Following factors can cause kneecap misalignment : 

Muscle Fragility or Tightness 

Many muscles work simultaneously to move your kneecap. And if any of these muscles become fragile or stiff, it initiates an imbalance. Hence, it may force your kneecap out of the line, typically towards the outer side of the knee. 

Q Angle 

This angle is related to the alignment of your quadriceps between your hip and knee. If you have a larger than usual Q angle (usually more than 20 degrees), you might be vulnerable to patellofemoral pain. The reason is that your kneecap has the propensity to track towards the outer side of the knee. The women who have a wide pelvis may have Q-angle issues. 

Flat Feet 

If you have no arch in your feet, you have a flat foot. Hence, you are also at a greater risk of patellofemoral disorder. The reason is that your foot rolls inwards and negotiates the standard mechanics of the patellofemoral joint. 

Other Factors 

  • Weak thigh muscles. 
  • Loose or tight ligaments and tendons. 
  • Activities that put great pressure on the knee repeatedly, particularly twisting motions.
  • A traumatic knee injury like a shock that may shift the kneecap towards the outer side of the leg. 
  • Knee bone structure issues or bone alignment. 

If you are obese or overweight, the risk of having this disorder increases. And if you regularly exercise, run, jog, jump, play sports, squat, bend your knee, or perform similar activities, you may be at greater risk. 

What Are the Symptoms of This Disorder? 

The primary symptom of this syndrome is knee pain Richardson. It usually occurs when: 

  • You sit down while your knees are bent 
  • Take a squat position 
  • Jump 
  • Climb stairs 

Usually, you experience intense pain when you sit with your knees bent for long periods. You may also experience a dull and aching pain in the front side of the knee and under the kneecap. The pain is not restricted to one specific region. You may also feel tenderness along the internal border of your patella and inflammation after a workout. 

Other symptoms may include decreased kneecap movement in one or both knees. 

How to Diagnose this Problem? 

The following three components can diagnose the patellofemoral disorder: 


When you visit a knee pain doctor near meyou should discuss the history of your pain. Your doctor may want to know the same pain region when it started and whether it was due to an injury. Your doctor may also ask you about your routine, activity level, any new footwear or running surface, and much more. 

Physical Examination 

It would help if you visited a physcian for a detailed examination of your knee. The doctor may press your kneecap and observe the bending and straightening position. The physician may also examine your patellar motion, sensitivity, alignment, and muscle strength. 


Your doctor may suggest imaging tests like x-rays, MRI, or CT scans to know the exact condition of your knee. 

How to Treat this Syndrome? 

If you suffer from this problem, you would be happy to know that most doctors effectively treat it through non-surgical methods. However, in rare cases, surgery is required. 

What are the non-surgical methods? 

Adapted Activity 

Your doctor may recommend you to change your high-impact physical activities to low-impact ones. Swimming and cycling are better options if you have this problem. Also, it would help if you avoided bend knee positions. 


Ice padding is very effective in decreasing pain and swelling of the affected area. 

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs) 

Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs to ease pain and inflammation. 

Avoid Pain 

It would help if you avoided any activities or movements that may trigger pain. 

Physical Therapy 

You should consult a qualified physical therapist for exercises that would help improve the strength and balance of your knee joint muscles. 

Knee Brace 

You can tape or brace your knee to stabilize the kneecap and adequately support the patella tracks during any movements. 


It is special footwear that can help brace the knee bend and absorb impact. 

So, if you follow these guidelines, it may take at least six weeks for results. However, if these treatments remain ineffective after six weeks, your doctor may recommend surgery.


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