Knee Pain Patellofemoral Pain

Authored by Dr Jacqueline Payne, 08 May 2015

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Colin Tidy, 08 May 2015

Patellofemoral pain is the name for a common cause of pain around the front of the knee. It is also called patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellofemoral syndrome or anterior knee pain.

Patellofemoral pain is the medical term used when pain occurs at the front of the knee, around the kneecap (patella), without signs of any damage or other problems in the knee joint.

Cross-section of the knee showing the patella

The patella is the kneecap bone. It lies within the quadriceps tendon. This large tendon from the powerful thigh muscles (quadriceps) wraps round the patella and is attached to the top of the lower leg bone (tibia). The quadriceps muscles straighten the knee.

The back of the patella is covered with smooth cartilage. This helps the patella to glide smoothly over the lower part of the thigh bone (femur) when you straighten your leg.

Further reading and references

  • van der Heijden RA, Lankhorst NE, van Linschoten R, et al; Exercise for treating patellofemoral pain syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jan 201:CD010387. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010387.pub2.

  • Witvrouw E, Callaghan MJ, Stefanik JJ, et al; Patellofemoral pain: consensus statement from the 3rd International Patellofemoral Pain Research Retreat held in Vancouver, September 2013. Br J Sports Med. 2014 Mar48(6):411-4. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-093450.

  • Callaghan MJ, Selfe J; Patellar taping for patellofemoral pain syndrome in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 184:CD006717. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006717.pub2.

Hi everyone. I'm now 6 months post TKR right knee. It's healed very well. No problems and I try to treat it the same as the other leg. Walking stairs etc are fine I can put up with the nerve pain -...

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