Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome


  • Runners
  • Impact sports (basketball, volleyball, netball)
  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Stair Climbers
  • Prolonged sitters
  • Elderly


Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of, if not the most common cause of knee pain among both the active and not so active population. It is pain felt behind, in front or to the side of your kneecap, where your patella (knee cap) joins to your femur (thigh bone). This is an uncomfortable problem which occurs as a result of poor patellofemoral alignment.


As mentioned above, patellofemoral pain occurs when there is a malalignment or maltracking of the patella. The most common causes of this abnormal tracking is poor biomechanical control of your leg or a muscle imbalance between the muscles on the outside of your knee against the muscles on the inside of your knee.


There are many muscles around the hip and knee that contribute and lead to the development of patellofemoral pain syndrome. The main muscle imbalance that occurs around your knee is in the quadriceps muscles. As the name suggests, the quads are made up of four different muscles and run from your hip down and across your kneecap. The most common imbalance is when the muscle on the outside is overactive and the muscle on the inside is weaker. Longstanding tightness of the structures on the outside of the knee will encourage the knee to track sideways over time, especially if your VMO (the muscle on the inside of the knee) is weak.

The management

Your local moveforward physiotherapist will assess your lower quadrant in detail to determine the exact contributing factors for your presentation of patellofemoral pain. From here they will advise you of the best path forward and prescribe you with an individualised treatment management plan in order to provide the most efficient and effective rehabilitation for you. It may include the following:

  • Massage
  • Dry needling
  • Manipulation
  • Mobilisations
  • Stretches
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Heat / Ice packs
  • Taping
  • Foam rolling
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Pilates or 1:1 exercise rehabilitation at our Hocking Physiotherapy clinic

or Quinns Physiotherapy clinic