Patellofemoral Pain
(Painful Kneecap)

The patellofemoral joint in the joint between the kneecap and the groove on the femur.

Causes & Symptoms

Patellofemoral pain can affect all ages. In younger patients it can occur without signs of arthritis while in older patients it is commonly due to arthritis.

Typical symptoms include pain with impact activity, kneeling, prolonged sitting, and stiffness when rising from a seated position.

Evaluation & Treatment

Initial evaluation includes a medical history, physical examination, and x-rays to evaluate the groove and patellar surfaces. Specialized examination maneuvers also help other associated conditions. Occasionally an MRI may be considered to evaluate the ligaments of the kneecap in the setting of an injury.

Initial treatment includes activity modification, footwear modification, specific stretching, anti-inflammatory medication. In those with patellar instability or patellar arthritis surgical treatment may be considered.