FAQ069: What is patellofemoral syndrome?

Patellofemoral Syndrome: A Knee Overuse Injury

Patellofemoral syndrome, or PFS, is a common overuse injury seen in the knee. It is often marked by pain that is in the front of the knee often below the knee cap. This diagnosis is often done as a diagnosis of exclusion. In the knee, you have a lot of ligaments, tendons and cushions that help keep it stable and in place. So when you are seeing a physiotherapist about your knee pain, they will need to check these out. You want to make sure that structures like your ACL and meniscus are intact.

Patellofemoral syndrome is an overuse injury. This means that it happens because of doing too much on the muscles around the knees. When we do too much, eventually our tissues start to break down.

PFS is commonly seen in young teenagers (sometimes as a result of a growth spurt), athletes or any persons who is doing a lot of repetitive lower body exercise or work.

What do we do in Physiotherapy?

If you are coming into the clinic with patellofemoral syndrome, the game plan will often consist  of some rest if possible and movement modification. We want to take away whatever the stress is that is causing the muscles and tissues to break down. Then we’ll likely stretch out anything that might be pulling on the knee. Once we have the pain down, it is important to strengthen up the knee. You hear me say this all the time but your body needs to be strong enough to handle what you’re asking it to do! If it isn’t, it breaks down. This case is no different.

Check out the video and make sure you come back often! We are always putting up new Frequently Asked Question videos to give you the information you need to manage any rehabilitation needs!

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Christina Prevett

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