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Patellofemoral Syndrome

What is patellofemoral syndrome?

The kneecap, or patella, sits in a groove in the thigh bone, or femur. The patella shifts in this groove with activities that involve knee bending such as climbing up or down stairs, running, squatting, lunging or getting up from a seated position. Dysfunctional patellar tracking, or excessive shifting in this groove, can cause pain around the kneecap. This is known as patellofemoral syndrome, or more commonly, runner’s knee.

What are the symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome?

Individuals with patellofemoral syndrome will often feel pain underneath, around or in front of the kneecap. Pain is often worse with going up and down stairs, squatting, running and getting up from a chair after a long period of sitting.

How is patellofemoral syndrome diagnosed?

Diagnosis is generally made through a discussion with your doctor and thorough examination. X-rays may be used to rule out other conditions.

How is patellofemoral syndrome treated?

Treatment of patellofemoral syndrome involves an individualized strengthening and stretching program and evaluation of biomechanical errors that can be corrected. In some cases, a knee brace may be used to provide support. To see an instructional video on this topic in more detail, see Dr. Voskanian’s video below.