Anterior knee pain or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a common complaint that we see in the clinic. What we are dealing with here is pain located to the front of the knee, usually over or around the kneecap. It can be vague and difficult to say exactly where it is sore. The pain may be constant and made worse by certain activities, otherwise only painful when doing certain things. The pain often starts gradually for no obvious reason and may be aggravated by walking, running, ascending or descending the stairs or prolonged sitting with the knee flexed. You may have severe difficulties continuing the activity that causes you pain and discomfort.
Who is likely to suffer from this condition?
PFPS is more prevalent in females, they are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to develop the condition than males in the athletic population. It can be a significant and debilitating complaint that can affect as many as 1 in 10 active adolescent girls.
What exactly causes PFPS remains a misunderstood and controversial topic. Knee muscle weakness especially of the vastus medialis obliquus (inner thigh muscles which supports the knee cap), abnormal foot biomechanics - in particular abnormal pronation, weakness of the hip stabilising muscles and poor functional control of the femur during weight bearing tasks can be common causes of the syndrome. So in other words if you have weak thighs and hips, wobbly knees, flat feet and generally poor balance you may be at risk.