A Common Condition of the Knee (Patellofemoral Pain)

What is patellofemoral pain (PFP)?

This is an umbrella term used to describe pain at the front of the knee. It is commonly known as ‘runners knee’ or ‘jumpers knee’. This is the most common presenting knee condition in the adolescent and adult population. PFP is an overuse or overloading injury typically with a gradual and insidious onset.

It can often feel like a dull ache at the front of the knee joint, alongside with mild swelling and clicking sensations. PFP is often aggravated by running (particularly downhill), stairs, kneeling, squatting, lunging or sitting for long periods of time.

What causes PFP?

There are many factors that may contribute to PFP and all are considered when diagnosing this condition.

– A sudden increase in training load

– Change in footwear

– Change in playing surface

– Muscle imbalances: weakness of the VMO (inner quad) and tightness of the ITB (outer thigh) leading to an increased lateral force pulling the patella (knee cap) outward, causing malalignment

– Foot biomechanics: increased pronation of the foot causes excessive force on the knee joint

– Anatomical variations: increased angles between the hips/knees/ankles, flat feet.

What can I do if I have PFP?

The first and most important step if you think you may be suffering from this condition, is to have a thorough assessment with a health professional. This is important in assessing all potential contributing factors, and to ensure appropriate treatment is put in to place for both short and long term management.

What is the treatment for PFP?

There are many different forms of treatment that your health professional may provide you with depending on the specific cause of the condition.

– Manual therapy – massage, joint mobilisations

– Activity modification – implementing a modified training program to reduce symptoms whilst rehabilitation takes place

– Exercise & stretching – a specific home exercise program targeted strengthening weak muscles, and stretching tight muscles

– Taping/Orthotics

– Footwear advice & modification


If you would like more information or a thorough assessment and treatment plan from a Professional Physiotherapist or Osteopath, please contact the clinic on 03 5254 2668 or book online!



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