Runners Knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a condition of the knee characterized by pain or discomfort occurring due to mechanical stress and increased pressure on the patellofemoral joint. The patellofemoral joint is the connection of our patella (knee cap) and the femur below. The patella is controlled in its movements by your quadriceps and allows you to walk and bend your knee functionally. This condition manifests itself as generalized pain at the knee cap and pain on movement of the knee, such as walking up stairs or getting up from a crouched position. PFPS can be exacerbated by pronation (rolling inwards) of the foot, as this can cause the patella to move out of alignment.


Patellofemoral pain arises due to:

  • Increased levels of activity
  • Foot and lower limb pronation
  • Quadriceps imbalance (weakness at the VMO)
  • Malalignment of the patella through the femoral groove
  • Imbalance of anatomical structures (retinaculum, ITB, adductors, gluteals)


Acute presentation of PFPS is managed with use of:

  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
  • No HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running/exercise, Massage)
  • Anti-inflammatory medication


Chronic Presentation of PFPS:

  • Specific strengthening and lengthening exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Taping and support
  • Biomechanical assessment
  • Corrective custom orthoses


If your patellofemoral or knee pain does not improve following these treatments or you would like some extra help, our podiatrists at The Walking Clinic can help or offer additional management such as orthoses and physical therapies.


If you have any questions about patellofemoral pain, ask your podiatrist at The Walking Clinic today.