What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral-Pain-SyndromePatellofemoral Pain Syndrome is also sometimes called “runner’s knee”. Pain from this condition is located at the front of your knee, around your kneecap (patella). Often, the pain will increase when you perform activities such as:

  • running
  • walking up or downstairs
  • squatting sitting for long periods

It’s common for simple treatments to help, however, sometimes physical therapy is necessary to ease the pain.

Causes of Runners Knee

Unfortunately, the cause of this syndrome is not known, however, it is associated with the following:

  • Muscle imbalances
  • Overuse
  • Injury
  • Surgery

Symptoms of Runners Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome causes a dull ache in the front of your knee. Knee pain is often irritated when you:

  • Kneel
  • squat
  • walk upstairs
  • walk downstairs
  • Bend knee for long periods of time

How is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Treated?

Conservative methods are first considered for patellofemoral pain syndrome, such as:


Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others,) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).


Physical therapy is a common treatment method for runners knee. A physical therapist will typically suggest:

  • Rehabilitation exercises. Specific exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knees and control limb alignment, such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles around your hips, especially hip abductors. Correcting the inward movement of the knee during squatting is a primary goal.
  • Supportive braces. Knee braces or arch supports may help improve pain.
  • Taping. Your physical therapist may show you how to tape your knee to reduce pain and enhance your ability to exercise.
  • Ice. Icing your knee after exercise might be helpful.
  • Knee-friendly sports. During your recovery, you may want to restrict yourself to low-impact activities that are easier on the knees — such as bicycling and swimming or water running.

When conservative methods fail for runners knee, surgical methods are then offered.

Surgical Methods for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

  • Arthroscopy. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a pencil-thin device equipped with a camera lens and light (arthroscope) into your knee through a tiny incision. Surgical instruments are passed through the arthroscope to remove fragments of damaged cartilage.
  • Realignment. In more severe cases, a surgeon may need to operate on your knee to realign the angle of the kneecap or relieve pressure on the cartilage.

If you are experiencing runners knee (aka patellofemoral pain syndrome), call us at 888-409-8006.