Anterior knee pain

Also known as: Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Runner's knee

What is anterior knee pain?
Anterior knee pain (also called patellofemoral syndrome or runner’s knee) occurs on the front of the knee or along the kneecap. Anterior knee pain can present itself during rest or activity. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain while sitting for long periods (watching a movie, driving)
  • Pain along the inside or outside of kneecap while using stairs or running (especially down)
  • Pain while squatting or kneeling

What are the causes?
Flexibility and strength deficits are primary causes. Trauma, such as knocking knees or falling on your knee, may cause muscles around the knee to work differently and put strain on other parts of the knee. Other contributing factors include weakness around the knee, hip, and core; foot structure; and foot alignment.

How do I treat it?
Rest and ice may help reduce pain and enable healing to begin. Visit a physical therapist to identify and address the factors that caused the pain so you can reduce the chance of recurrence. Start physical therapy sooner rather later to minimize time away from sport and decrease the risk of developing bad movement patterns that compensate for knee pain.