Patellofemoral Syndrome (PFS)

Patellofemoral Syndrome (PFS), also known as “Runner’s knee” is a general term used to describe pain or discomfort that occurs under or around your kneecap. Often, this may also include a “grinding” or “popping sensation in the area. Generally, a person will report difficulty with activities such as going up or down stairs, squatting, or increased symptoms after sitting for a prolonged period of time. Although it is known as “runner’s knee”, this condition may occur in anyone regardless of age or level of activity.

Schedule Appointment | Results Physiotherapy | Patellofemoral Syndrome

Causes of Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral Syndrome may or may not be directly related to trauma or damage of the knee. Rather, it can be from a variety of factors including imbalance in thigh muscles, poor foot mechanics, repetitive activity, or weakness of gluteal muscles. In some cases, it may even be a combination of several of these factors. Physical therapy may be necessary for identifying these causes and returning to normal, functional or recreational activities.

  • Trauma or Damage to the Knee
  • Imbalance in Thigh Muscles
  • Poor Foot Mechanics
  • Repetitive Activity
  • Weakness of Gluteal Muscles
  • Combination of Several Factors

Symptoms of Patellofemoral Syndrome

Pain or discomfort that can occur around the kneecap. The sound or sensation of "grinding" or "popping" in the area. Pain or discomfort when attempting to perform certain activities including walking up and down the stairs, sitting for prlonged periods of time, and squatting.

  • Pain or Discomfort Around Kneecap
  • "Grinding" or "Popping" Sound and Sensation
  • Pain when Walking, Sitting, Squatting, or Going Up and Down Stairs

Diagnosis of Patellofemoral Syndrome

An examination by a licensed physical therapist can help to determine the factors that are the direct cause of your symptoms and determine the appropriate course of treatment. This may include assessing functional activities such as walking/running, squatting, or assessing other functional activities that are limiting to the patient.

At Results Physiotherapy, this is followed by a thorough examination in conjunction with hands on manual therapy and individualized exercises to correct or treat that issues that were found. Often, people with this condition are asked to stop the activity that irritates their symptoms. Our philosophy involves trying to keep the person performing the activities they enjoy with modifications or additional support from things like taping, shoe inserts, or other methods that may assist during the rehab process.

Treatment of Patellofemoral Syndrome with Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy treatment involves identifying contributing factors and addressing these through corrective exercises and manual therapy. Taping of the patella may help re-educate an improved tracking mechanism. Appropriate footwear or supportive orthotics may improve poor foot biomechanics. Rest from aggravating activities and sports may relieve inflammation to allow corrective therapy treatment.

Find Location | Patellofemoral Syndrome | Results Physiotherapy

Prevention Tips for Patellofemoral Syndrome

Prevention of PFS (Patellofemoral Syndrome) generally involves strengthening of the muscles that are typically found to be weak (such as the gluteal muscles) as well as warming up before and proper stretching after more demanding activities such as prolonged running or walking. Another tip to helping prevent this condition is to involve cross training (general strengthening) along with your endurance activities (running/walking). This may help decrease areas of overuse and decrease chances of developing increased discomfort to the knee region.

Articles Related to Patellofemoral Syndrome

Dry Needling Icon

Request an Appointment


We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site, we will assume that you are happy with these terms.