Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)/ Runners Knee

What is PFPS?

Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), also known as runners knee, is knee pain and or stiffness in the front of the knee or surrounding the kneecap.

As the name suggests this condition is common in runners or other athletes, particularly females and young adults, however it can also develop in non-athletes!


The pain is often described as dull, aching pain that is increased by

  • Repetitive exercises including running, jumping and squatting
  • Pain after sitting long periods
  • Pain increases with increased intensity of activity, surface or shoes
  • A popping/ crackly sound on movements

What causes PFPS?

Your kneecap rests within the grove between your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). As you bend and straighten your leg, tendons attached to your kneecap allow it to float up and down that is necessary to bend or straighten your knee.

PFPS is the result of a number of causes including:

  • Overuse- Increased training intensity or amount, especially if increased in a short time period
  • Increased BMI- As weight increases load on the knee joint increases
  • Improper equipment/ training
  • Changes in shoes as this can alter foot biomechanics
  • Patellar misalignment:
    • Muscle imbalances:
    • Hip-Knee-Ankle alignment:

Imbalances alter the smooth gliding of the knee cap- often causing it to track to the side of the grove, leading to pain and stiffness. As there are a number of causes, it can be one or combination of a few causes.


With a new onset of knee pain ice, gentle movements, supportive shoes, anti-inflammatories are advised to help to decrease inflammation and pain throughout the day.

In addition, research shows that physiotherapy and conservative management can be affective in the treatment of PFPS. Often treatment can include manual therapy, strengthening exercises, taping, orthotics, and modalities to reduce symptoms and correct the biomechanical causes of PFPS.

If you are experiencing knee pain, or are struggling with an episode of runners knee, and would like physiotherapy input contact use today to speak with a physiotherapist today at 045-853726 or online at


Gilroy, F., Walker, C., and Kryzyszton, M. nd. Patellafemoral pain syndrome: information & rehabilitation protocol. Retrieved from

OrthoInfo, 2015. Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Diseases and Conditions. Retrieved from–conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/

Physiopedia. 2018. Patellafemoral pain syndrome. Retrieved from

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