Anterior knee pain syndrome (patellofemoral pain)

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What is Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

Patellofemoral pain is used to describe pain that occurs around the front of the kneecap.



The main symptom is pain behind the kneecap. This may come and go and may worsen when going up and down stairs, taking part in certain sports or sitting with the knee bent for long     periods. You may also feel a catching, aching or feeling of the knee giving way.

There are a number of different factors that can cause patellofemoral, such as overuse of the knee or increased activity. Caring for your knee at home is the key to helping reduce symptoms.



Try wearing shoes with an arch support



Exercise is key to increasing your fitness levels and maintaining a healthy weight. This puts less strain on joints and keeps muscles strong. There is good evidence for strengthening   exercises for this type of pain.


Examples of good exercises include:

  • swimming
  • brisk walking
  • group exercises  – check availability at your  local gym, leisure centre


Straight leg raise

Lying on your back bend the supporting leg and keep the affected leg straight, lift the

straight leg up and down repeat until muscles feel tired, relax and repeat three times.


Hip abduction

Keeping your back straight with the affected leg on top, bend the underneath supporting leg.



Hamstring stretch: lying down bend one leg and lean gentle forward (aim to try and touch your toes) until you feel the stretch, hold for 20 seconds ,


Quad stretch

Keeping your back straight, hold onto a wall for support. Bend your knee and bring the foot towards


None of these exercises should be painful, please discontinue if the bring on any of your knee pain.

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Self referrals

You can self-refer into community physiotherapy services. Simply call 0207 871 0545 to make an appointment. Your initial contact with one of our chartered physiotherapists may be over the phone, where you will either be given advice on appropriate treatment, or a face-to-face consultation will be arranged.

Should you wish to speak to your GP first, simply make an appointment with your local practice. If your GP refers you, one of our patient care advisers will contact you within 48 hours to arrange an appointment.

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