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Patellofemoral Syndrome

What is patellofemoral syndrome?


Patellofemoral syndrome is a common cause of pain in the front of the knee or anterior knee pain.  It most commonly occurs in teenagers, athletes, and people whose occupation involves kneeling for long periods of time.  Sometimes it is caused by wearing or softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.


What are the causes of patellofemoral syndrome?


Patellofemoral syndrome may be caused by overuse, injury, excess weight, kneecap malalignment or cartilage changes under the kneecap. 


What are the symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome?


The main symptom of patellofemoral syndrome is knee pain, especially when sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping, or using the stairs.  A catching, popping, or grinding sensation when walking or with knee motion is also common.


How do you treat patellofemoral syndrome?


First, you should avoid activities that make the symptoms worse, like sitting in the bent-knee position or kneeling for long periods of time.  Often a short course of anti-inflammatory medication with physical therapy to strengthen the patella stabilizers is helpful.  Sometimes, a brace or taping the knee to stabilize the kneecap is beneficial.  Rarely is surgery needed for treatment.

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