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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a common affliction, especially for athletes. This condition can cause pain or discomfort when engaging in activities such as running, jumping, squatting, and climbing stairs. The knee care specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating patellofemoral pain syndrome, helping patients continue to enjoy their favorite activities.

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What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is sometimes referred to as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee,” and it causes pain around or under the kneecap (patella). PFPS most frequently occurs in females and athletes of all ages, but it may also occur in people who spend significant time sitting or kneeling.1

Causes of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The exact cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome is unknown, but certain factors may contribute to this condition:

  • Repetitive Stress: Overuse of the knee joint, as from running or jumping while engaging in sports, can lead to irritation under the kneecap.
  • Muscle Weakness or Imbalance: In some patients, the muscles around the knee and hip are improperly balanced and fail to keep the kneecap properly aligned.
  • Trauma: A kneecap injury may be the source of patellofemoral pain syndrome.
  • Surgery: The risk of patellofemoral pain may be increased after knee surgery, especially ACL reconstruction.

Additional risk factors for patellofemoral pain syndrome include age, gender, and participation in certain sports where running and jumping are common.2

Treatment for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Non-Surgical Treatment for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

At Beacon Orthopaedics, we always recommend the least invasive treatment necessary to alleviate a patient’s symptoms from patellofemoral pain syndrome. Non-surgical treatment for PFPS includes:

  • Avoiding certain activities
  • RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotic shoe inserts

Surgery for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Only rarely is surgery a necessary treatment for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Most commonly, knee arthroscopy is performed. During this procedure, an orthopedic surgeon inserts a small camera into the knee joint. Images from this camera guide the surgeon as tiny surgical instruments are inserted to remove (debride) damaged cartilage and/or release tendons that pull the patella out of place.3

Contact Beacon Orthopaedics

If you are troubled by pain in the knee that may be caused by patellofemoral pain syndrome, the knee experts at Beacon Orthopaedics can help. Our sports medicine specialists can recommend and perform the proper treatment to alleviate your symptoms and allow you to get back to the activities you love. To schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

1 Cleveland Clinic. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17914-patellofemoral-pain-syndrome-pfps. Accessed August 25, 2022.
2 Mayo Clinic. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20350792. Accessed August 26, 2022.
3 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/. Accessed August 26, 2022.