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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee) Treatment

The term patellofemoral pain syndrome refers to pain that occurs in the front of the knee. Sometimes called “runner’s knee” because it is common in people who play sports, this disorder affects the area of the lower femur (thighbone) where the patella (kneecap) slides through a groove. Patellofemoral pain syndrome ranks among the most common knee complaints and affects athletes who play competitive or recreational sports and non-athletes alike.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Treatment: What You Need to Know

  • No one knows exactly what causes patellofemoral pain syndrome and its associated knee pain.
  • Repetitive motion activities or sports like running and prolonged immobilization (sitting) both appear to make the knee pain worse.
  • Orthopaedic doctors diagnose patellofemoral pain syndrome by performing a physical examination and ruling out other possible causes of the knee pain, including arthritis and injuries like a dislocated patella.
  • Treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome usually includes avoiding any activity, sport or exercise that makes the knee pain worse, anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes wearing soft braces. Surgery is rarely required.

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Why choose Johns Hopkins for treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome?

johns hopkins sports medicine experts care for people with patellofemoral pain syndrome

Our Physicians


Rely on the expertise of our physicians to help you manage your patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Andrew Cosgarea, M.D.
Rajwinder Deu, M.D.
Sameer Dixit, M.D.
R. Jay Lee, M.D.
John Tis, M.D.
John Wilckens, M.D.
Bashir Zikria, M.D., M.Sc.

Running tips Webinar

Seasonal Running and Injury Prevention | Webinar

Running is a great activity for your heart, weight and mental health, but it comes with a risk of injuries, no matter how experienced you are. Orthopaedic surgeon James Ficke, M.D., and physical therapist Ken Johnson discuss measures you can take to avoid common running injuries.

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