Munson Health
 
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Back to Document

by Borowski M

(Runner’s Knee)

 

Treatment

The initial step is to rest the knee. High-impact activities should be switched for lower impact exercise. For example, choose swimming instead of running (except breaststroke). Your doctor may suggest that you apply ice to the kneecap after activity.
Longer-term treatment involves a number of different strategies, including:

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Most people will benefit from strengthening the muscles around the knee. This includes the quadriceps muscles in the thigh as well as other muscles near the hip. Physical therapists can recommend specific exercises. This treatment is very helpful. It can take 6 to 12 weeks to see an improvement.

Pharmacological Treatment

Some people may benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs). They may be helpful in relieving the pain. They work best when combined with other treatments, such as physical therapy.

External Devices

Some people find relief from knee braces or knee sleeves. These devices typically have a cutout in the kneecap area. They are designed to hold the kneecap in place during activity. Some are designed to hold the patella from going too far laterally.
Certain methods of taping the patella in position have also been helpful to some patients.
Special shoe inserts, called orthotics, may also be helpful. They work best when the condition is due to dysfunction in the foot, such as flat feet or excessive pronation.

Surgery

In rare cases, people who do not respond to other forms of treatment may be recommended for surgery. This will be done to correct malalignment of the patella.
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
http://www.fitness.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


Browner BD et al. Skeletal Trauma: Basic science, management, and reconstruction. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2008.


Canale, ST, ed. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 2007.


DeLee, JC and D. Drez. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2009.


Juhn MS. Patellofemoral pain syndrome: a review and guidelines for treatment. Am Fam Physician. 1999; (60)7: 2012-2022.


Labella C. Patellofemoral pain syndrome: evaluation and treatment. Prim Care Clin Office Pract. 2004; 31: 977-1003.


Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Nov 1;60(7):2019-2022. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/991101ap/991101b.html. Accessed May 3, 2013.


Patellofemoral pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated November 27, 2012. Accessed February 18, 2014.


1/24/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Fukuda TY, Rossetto FM, Magalhães E, Bryk FF, Lucareli PR, de Almeida Aparecida Carvalho N. Short-term effects of hip abductors and lateral rotators strengthening in females with patellofemoral pain syndrome: a randomized controlled clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(11):736-742.

 

Revision Information