Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is the term used to describe pain in the front of the knee, generally around the knee cap (patella). It is most common in females and young adults, especially those who play sport, and may be referred to as “runner’s knee” or “jumper’s knee.”
The main causes of PFPS include vigorous or repetitive physical activity, a recent change in load (e.g. increasing running distances suddenly), abnormal tracking of the patella and muscle imbalances of the lower limb. Weakness of the quadricep and gluteal muscles is particularly relevant as this can cause maltracking of the kneecap within its bony groove.
PFPS may cause aching pain and stiffness in the front of the knee, which is often aggravated by everyday activities such as climbing stairs, running, squatting and prolonged sitting.
Reducing symptoms of PFPS can be achieved through specific exercises which focus on mobility, strength and endurance of the muscles surrounding the knee and hip. A great example is a weighted single-leg squat – when performed correctly, this exercise will engage both the glute and quadricep muscle groups to reduce symptoms of PFPS.
Physio is the best place to start if you have anterior knee pain!