Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a term used to describe pain in or around the kneecap (patella) and distal end of the femur bone. It is commonly seen in the adolescent, young adults, and person’s who undergo a high amount of physical activity . Quite a high number of cases of presented knee pain can be classified as PFPS.


The Anatomy


The kneecap is a rounded triangular bone that sits in the femoral groove over where the bones in the leg (the femur and tibia) meet. The patella plays a large role in helping the knee bend, therefore is active in most movements involving the lower leg. Injury to this site can cause difficulty with walking, standing, and general activities.



The exact cause of PFPS is largely unknown, but many therapists believe that major factors that contribute to PFPS is an imbalance or weakness of the muscles, and traumatic injury to the site. The imbalance or injury may cause the patella to come out of alignment of the femoral groove and start to grind amongst the surrounding cartilage which causes irritation and pain.


Associated symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome


The main symptom of PFPS is presented as knee pain with walking, sitting with knees bent, and sports that involve running or jumping. Other symptoms include popping or grinding sensations in or around the knee. There may also be times where your knee may give way and lapse it’s support involuntary while walking or running.


Managing Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome


Remedial massage has proven to be an effective management tool for PFPS by restoring muscle balance and range of motion of the knee, but in addition, a great way to manage PFPS is by a few home care exercises, more specifically lower body proximal exercises.



The exercises below are just a few examples you can do to strengthen weak muscles and restore some balance to the area to relieve pain.


Lying Kicks:

Lying on your back, place a rolled up towel or blanket under the affected knee, then proceed to straighten your knee all the while resting the back of your thigh on the rolled up towel. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times.



Lying on your back with your knees bent, activate your core and glutes to lift your hips off the floor and create a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.


Hip Abduction:

Lying on your side, keep your bottom leg bend and your top leg straight. Slowly raise your top leg. Hold for 10 seconds then relax, repeat 3 times each side.


Straight Leg Raise:

Lying on your back, keep one leg bent while the other remains straight. Slowly raise the straight leg 30 centimeters off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds then relax, repeat 3 times each side.


Backward Kicks:

In a standing position, without leaning forward keeping your toes pointing forward and legs straight, slowly kick one leg back. Repeat 10 times with each leg.


Seated Kicks:

While seated in a stable chair, have your knees bent to 90 degrees and assure you have a nice grip with the floor. One leg at a time, try to keep your foot in the same position while activating the muscles in your leg as if you were kicking forward. Repeat 10 times with each leg.

Julius Principe


This article has been prepared by Julius Principe.  Please leave your comments below if you have any further questions about PFJ.