What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Also known as the “kneecap,” the patella is the small bone that shields the knee joint. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general, consistent pain in the knee region that most commonly affects adolescents and young adults. It is also especially common in those who play sports. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is usually identified by damaged cartilage beneath the kneecap due to injury or overuse and is often considered the primary cause of this condition.


Doctors have not established one specific cause beyond damaged cartilage often found beneath the kneecap. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is, however, linked to a number of factors, which include:

  • Highly-physical sports
  • Muscle imbalances or weakness, especially in the hip and knee
  • Poor alignment or patellar tracking disorder
  • Knee or kneecap dislocations or fractures
  • Previous knee surgeries


Patellofemoral pain syndrome is characterized by:

  • Knee pain that intensifies when bending, squatting or jumping
  • The sensation of the knees “giving out” or an inability to support your weight
  • Catching, popping or grinding within the knee joint

The OrthoCARE Treatment Approach

If you are suffering from patellofemoral pain syndrome, it is crucial to consult an orthopedic specialist right away. There is a chance that your pain may evince a larger, more severe issue that requires prompt medical attention. Additionally, there are many accessible treatments available to reduce the discomfort associated with patellofemoral pain syndrome.

The experienced orthopedic experts at OrthoCARE Institute, a division of the vertically-integrated Lumin Health healthcare system, address patellofemoral pain syndrome through innovative, patient-centric treatment plans. During your visit, your physician will carefully examine your knee to determine the root cause behind your patellofemoral pain syndrome. To ensure that no tissue or bone within the knee is damaged, an X-ray or other diagnostic or imaging test may be necessary.

For optimal healing, we typically encourage conservative treatments that may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and taping or bracing. If these methods are ineffective or if a more severe condition is spurring your patellofemoral pain syndrome, surgery may be a recommended option. Often, surgical procedures can be implemented using an arthroscopy (tiny camera) to remove damaged cartilage and encourage realignment. By using minimally invasive surgery, our physicians lessen the risk of scarring, blood loss and trauma to surrounding tissues. Additionally, minimally invasive surgery typically results in significantly shorter recovery times when compared to traditional open surgery.

If you have any questions about patellofemoral pain syndrome, minimally invasive surgery or OrthoCARE Institute, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 972-255-5588 or filling out the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to speaking with you and resolving your knee issue as quickly as possible!

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