Patello-Femoral Pain syndrome (PFPS)


  • Runners!!!
  • Elderly
  • Athletes in high impact sports (jumpers, sprinter….)
  • Basketball and netball players
  • Gym Junkies
  • Desk warriors



Patello-femoral pain syndrome, or PFPS, is the most common cause of pain at the knee joint. It normally presents as pain felt around, and behind the knee cap (patella). It is common in both the young and old, active and inactive.

When & How

PFPS is most commonly caused by mistracking or poor movement of the knee cap, as opposed to direct trauma to any specific structure within the knee. Poor movement can be caused by numerous variables but is most commonly caused by;

  • Muscle strength imbalances
  • Excess muscle tightness
  • Overactive or inhibited control of a muscle
  • Poor foot posture (eg. Flat feet)
  • Hip and lower back problems
  • Degenerative changes due to old age

The kneecap normally runs along a groove in the thigh bone known as the femoral groove. As a result of any of the above variables, this movement along the groove is changed, and the knee cap starts to mistrack. As a result there are excessive joint pressures put through the knee joint and knee cap. Overtime this will lead to irritation, swelling and pain which in turn further changes the way the kneecap tracks along the femoral groove.


Treatment and management of PFPS requires any underlying causes to be addressed whilst treating the pain and inflammation at the knee itself. Your physiotherapist at our Move Forward Kinross Physiotherapy clinic will assess the whole lower limb, as well as the hip and low back in order to determine the exact cause of your knee pain. Following this assessment, you will be provided with a detailed outline of your own individualized treatment management plan. Your treatment may include a combination of the following;
• Rest
• Ice/ Heat
• Brace/ off-load taping
• Soft tissue massage
• Mobilizations
• Dry needling
• Stretching & strengthening exercises, which can be performed within the gym located at Move Forward Hillarys Physiotherapy
• Activity and exercise modifications to improve lower limb mechanics and posture, which can be performed within our pilates studio at Move Forward Quinns Physiotherapy or Jindalee Physiotherapy