Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?Pain in knee cap

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is pain behind or in front of the patella (knee cap). It is one of the most frequent musculoskeletal conditions of the knee, and can affect all ages, most commonly adolescents and young adults. Prognosis of PFPS is very good, with conservative care often resulting in complete recovery, particularly in young patients.

Common PFPS symptoms can include:

  • Pain behind or in front of the patella on movement.
  • Swelling around the front of the knee.
  • A “cracking” or “popping” sound in the knee during movement.

What causes Patellofemoral pain syndrome?

PFPS can be caused by a number of factors, including flexibility issues, biomechanical changes, muscle imbalances or weaknesses, training errors or increased training loads. PFPS can be aggravated by activities such as:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Squatting
  • Jumping
  • Kneeling
  • Going up and down stairs
  • Sitting for long periods of time.

Two things that may help decrease the symptoms of PFPS are strengthening the quadriceps muscles, and stretching the hip and knee muscles, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and ITB.

What can we do to help with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Our Morley Chiropractors use a combination of different treatments and rehab exercises to help with knee pain. These treatments are only done once we have completed a thorough history and examination to find out why there is pain in the knee.


  1. Alba-Martin, P. et al. (2015). Effectiveness of therapeutic physical exercise in the treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome: a systematic review. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 27(7): 2387-2390.
  2. Papadopolous, K. et al. (2015). A Systematic Review of Reviews in Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Exploring the Risk Factors, Diagnostic Tests, Outcome Measurements and Exercise Treatment. The Open Sports Medicine Journal. 9(1): 7-16
  3. Logan, C.A. et al. (2017). Systematic Review of the Effect of Taping Techniques on Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Sports Health. 9(5): 456-461.