PFPS: What is it and what to do for it


Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is a very common cause of knee pain amongst gym goers and runners. According to an article published by Drs. Dixit and DiFiori, it is caused by imbalances in forces controlling patellar tracking during knee flexion and extension (in other words, bending and straightening, respectively), muscle dysfunction, hypermobile patella (‘knee cap’), and poor quad flexibility. Consequently, someone with PFPS will often experience pain behind or around the patella that increases with activities that require knee bending such as running, squatting, and lunging. While imaging is usually not necessary for diagnosis, a clinical diagnosis where an examination of the knee and patella as well as other surrounding structures is necessary. Recent research suggests that physical therapy is effective in treating PFPS. Typically, after an evaluation of the patient’s current condition and noted deficits, a program of exercises and manual interventions is prepared to ultimately improve patellar tracking by improving mobility and strength of surrounding soft tissues/structures. Typically a program could potentially include manual stretching and/or massage to improve overall soft tissue mobility in addition to patient education on therapeutic exercises to strengthen the involved lower extremity as well as introduction of a home exercise program for the patient to perform in between visits to maintain any improvements made while attending physical therapy. If PFPS is something that has been effecting your quality of life, feel free to make an appointment with us for an evaluation. The quicker you address the issue, the quicker you can get back to the sport you love!

  • Dixit, DiFiori, Burton, and Mines. “Management of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome”. American Family Physician. 2007 Jan 15; 75(2):194-202.

Posted in: Knee

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