Patellofemoral Syndrome (PFS)

What is patellofemoral syndrome?
Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS), also known as runner’s knee and chondromalacia patella, is a condition characterized by pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap. The two most common causes for patellofemoral pain is overuse or excessive training, or, more commonly, abnormal alignment and tracking of the kneecap. The main symptom is pain around or behind the kneecap. Individuals typically notice pain after prolonged sitting, walking, running, squatting, and lunging. The pain is generally worse when walking downhill or downstairs. The knee may swell at times and you may feel or hear snapping, popping, or grinding in the knee.

Most symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome resolve with simple measures. PFS is best managed in a multi-modal approach with the combination of activity modification and avoidance of inciting activities, physical therapy, home exercises, and appropriate shoe wear with arch support. The basic principles for management of PFS are restoring muscle balance within the quadriceps group, improving range of motion, and building core strength. Exercises to stretch the IT band, hamstring, and calf also are important in the treatment and prevention of PFS. A PFS brace is available to help keep the kneecap in alignment and is recommended for use on a limited basis to prevent weakening of the knee.