Patellofemoral pain syndrome

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Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It is caused by overuse, weak thigh muscles (quadriceps), or a problem with the way the kneecap moves. Extra weight may also cause this syndrome.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain, especially when sitting with bent knees, squatting, jumping, or using the stairs (especially going down stairs).
  • Occasional knee buckling. The knee suddenly and unexpectedly gives way and does not support body weight.
  • A catching, popping, or grinding sensation with walking or moving the knee.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can be relieved by avoiding activities that make symptoms worse. Home care, such as resting and icing the knee, may help. A doctor may recommend physical therapy, taping the knee, or using a brace. Surgery may be needed if pain does not go away.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.