Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome


Definition & Function

Definition: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is the most common cause of general knee pain. It characteristically causes pain in and around the knee cap.

Function: The knee cap (patella) is a small triangular bone in the front of your knee that is designed to move and glide with the knee as it flexes. It glides up and down along a groove at the end of your thigh bone (femur) and gives the front thigh muscles (quadriceps) more leverage when straightening the leg. The patella also acts as a 'bumper' to protect the other bones in the knee from falls and collision

Mechanism of Injury

PFPS is generally caused by an abnormality of the knee cap (patella). The patella is designed to glide and track in its groove over the lower end of the thigh bone (femur). When PFPS occurs, there can be an 'off-kilter' tracking of the knee cap causing the underside of the patella to grate and become irritated leading to inflammation and pain.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Most common symptom is a dull ache underneath and around knee cap especially while walking downstairs, squatting, or getting up from a prolonged seated position
  • May also feel like it 'catches' when bending the knee
  • May experience painful 'grinding' or 'creaking' sensations


  • Females are at greater risk than males in general due to having wider hips
  • Flat feet/overpronated feet
  • Knock kneed (genu valgum)
  • Overuse or improper training
  • Weak glutes and imbalanced thigh muscles

Pedorthic Treatments

Custom made Orthotics can be an effective method to properly orient the tibia/shin bone. They are able to correct biomechanical impairments and redistribute the load to the foot in a different way in order to decrease the stress on the knee complex. Proper footwear is also essential to your recovery. Talk to your Pedorthist about proper footwear choices for you.

Other Treatment

  • Physiotherapy
  • Bracing
  • Taping techniques

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